Upgrades and training while the Zoo was closed
Currently the Zoo is open again for guests (we are so happy for everyone to be able to come visit again), but I thought I would share with you what we had been working on during our closure. As primate care professionals specifically working with our small primates and sloths (the non-primate members of our care area), we have been doing a lot of projects with our extra time while we were closed and are excited to share them with you!
At Zoo Atlanta we have two golden lion tamarin groups that live in the lower Zoo, and during this quarantine period our team was able to completely re-do one of the habitats. This habitat is known to many as the sloth habitat because it houses sloths outdoors in the summer months, as well as a pair of golden lion tamarins. This project entailed taking down all the old perching (trees), doing a deep clean and then adding all new perching for the tamarins and sloths to enjoy. This project is enriching to the animals as it provides a completely new habitat that encourages naturalistic behaviors. During this time, we also switched tamarin groups, so currently Blixx and Tiete the tamarins and Nutella and Bonnie the sloths are enjoying the newly renovated outdoor space.
Another project that we were able to start was training from a distance with Enwe, our male drill monkey. During the pandemic it is critical that we maintain a safe distance when working with our primate population. At Zoo Atlanta we are taking extra precautions with the animals to make sure both team members and animals remain safe. To continue training with some of the primates, distance training occurred. This was a new challenge for the team members working with these animals and the animals to pick up on, but we were successful to do some distance training with Enwe. Another team member and I have been working with Enwe on traveling from one location to another when called; this is referred to as A to B’s. This helps increase physical activity and stimulates the mind. Enwe has picked up on his training very quickly and will move from the front of his habitat to the back when called, all while the care team maintains a safe distance from him.
Since the Zoo was closed, we had extra time in the habitats which allowed us to add some additional items for the primates to use. In the colobus and guenon habitat, new enrichment items were added. One specific item that is a favorite is a brand-new hammock. The colobus and guenon juveniles jump in and out of it, rolling in it and play-wrestling with each other in it.
We are so happy the Zoo is back open, and you can come visit. On your next visit make sure to check out some of these changes that were made while we were closed.
Keeper I, Primates (photo by Morgan W.)
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