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Behind the scenes with the savanna animals

We’re excitedly awaiting the opening of the new African Savanna this summer. In the meantime, we continue to take full advantage of being so close to the animals all day every day. We’re in the process of training several of the savanna animals on new behaviors.

Our oldest giraffe, Abu, and the warthogs, Shirley and Eleanor, are learning a very handy behavior we call “stationing.” With this behavior, the trainer asks the animal to “station,” and the animal moves to a specific area or station and remains there until the animal care team member gives the all-clear to break from this position. This behavior can be very useful for a variety of reasons.

We use protected contact with both the giraffes and the warthogs, so this means we never share the same space; there is always a barrier between the animal and the keeper. This makes caring for the animals challenging at times, and having the “station” behavior can make our work a lot easier. For example, Abu can be a bit nosy when we’re hanging feeders and enrichment. By stationing him in a separate area, we can hang up items more easily. The warthogs get very excited when it comes to training sessions, and it’s much easier to work on training with them individually. Stationing them in different spaces for training sessions is much easier than trying to train both at once. I can’t wait to perfect this technique and figure out new ways to integrate it into our routine!

We look forward to seeing you at the Zoo! Be sure to keep up with Grand New View project updates here.
Bridget Smith
Keeper II, Mammals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl