Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer School

Though many of your kids might be out of school for the summer, this is the time that Baby Zuri is in school learning and training with her keepers. One of the keepers at Elephant Encounter recently said that they work on Zuri's training four to six times a day now that the weather is nice outside.

Right now Zuri is working on body positioning training to help the keepers take better care of her. If Zuri learns to back up, or present her side now, it will greatly ease the care in which she receives. Body positioning helps make it easier to bathe Zuri, as well as give inspections to make sure she's healthy and happy.

We always practice positive reinforcement with our Hogle Zoo animals, and Baby Zuri is no exception. If she doesn't feel like working during her training sessions, she doesn't have to, but it's hard for her to resist when she's got some of her favorite treats for rewards! Just like a little baby, Zuri's tastes for reward treats are changing. For a few months, she really loved pomegranate juice for rewards; now she's off the juice and looks forward to bananas and bread for a training job well done.

Remember when you come to Hogle Zoo this summer, Zuri's still a baby! Though she weighs in at just a little bit under 750 pounds, she's still growing quickly and will celebrate her first birthday later on this summer! It's also Dari's 50th birthday (she's the oldest African elephant in accredited North American zoos!) this summer, so keep an eye on our events calendar here to make sure you're part of the festivities.

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