Blackpool Keeper Academy 2016 Training and enrichment 

Why train animals?

•Health checks/veterinary



•Prepare for transport

•Health and safety


Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are types of associative learning.

Training Sea Lions

Blackpool Zoo use positive reinforcement by using fish as a reward with target training.


”A process for improving or enhancing zoo animal environments and care within the context of their inhabitants’ behavioural biology and natural history. It is a dynamic process in which changes to structures and husbandry practices are made with the goal of increasing behavioural choices available to animals and drawing out their species appropriate behaviours and abilities, thus enhancing their welfare. As the term implies, enrichment involves the identification and addition to the zoo environment a specific stimulus that the occupant wants or needs but which was not previously present.”

-The Assosication of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

The main objectives of enrichment are:

•To keep animals physically and mentally stimulated

•To allow animals to display natural behaviours

•To increase the diversity of behaviours

•To increase enclosure utilisation

•To prevent abnormal behaviour

What is an ‘abnormal’ behaviour?

•Not known (listed on ethograms)

•Unknown in the wild


•Few do it


•Not necessarily harmful 

I created enrichment for the tapirs and capybaras

Tapirs are Perissodactyla (odd-toed), not Artiodactyla (even-toed).

There are four species….





The three main defences a tapir has against predators are

•Camoflauge when young

•Bone in back of heads to prevent attacks from behind

•Urinate in the water

When working around reindeers it was important to be careful due to their large antlers. These are for sparring and protecting their young.

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