Zoo News

Zoo News - Volume 40, March 2020

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1229682

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COMMUNITY ust like humans, animals have to attend medical appointments from time to time to ensure they stay fit and healthy. However, performing a blood test on a lion is a little different to taking blood from a human. Zoos Victoria keepers have been working with the animals in their care to encourage healthy routines and behaviours that reduce the stress and risk associated with performing essential medical check-ups. As a Zoo Keeper at Werribee Open Range Zoo's African River Trail, Christina Speckamp has been working closely with the Zoo's lions to encourage behaviours and healthy routines that will help improve their health and wellbeing. The program is aimed at reducing the need for lions to be sedated for basic medical tests, by training them to voluntarily present their tails to medical staff for blood tests. "The tail is one of the safest places to draw blood from a lion when they are awake, because there are no claws or teeth attached to it," explains Christina. "We start by training the lions to face the gate side-on, then we progress to asking them to move their tail so we can safely draw blood." A slow and steady approach is at the heart of the training J ANIMAL Our lions participate in wellbeing-centred training. WORDS Jo Stewart   PHOTOGRAPHY Jo Howell Pictured : (clockwise from above) Lions at Werribee Open Range Zoo, echidnas doing scales training. HEADS TAILS & 1 4

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