|Sea Lions||10.30 hrs and 14.30 hrs|
|Harbour Seals||10.45 hrs and 14.45 hrs|
|Fur Seals||11.00 hrs and 15.00 hrs|
|Penguins||11.15 hrs and 15.15 hrs|
Northern Gannets /
|Polar Bears||16.00 hrs (November – February 13.30 hrs|
Most of the time the feedings during the morning do not take place on Thursdays (during the month of July and August on Fridays) for the divers have to clean the underwater screens.
Medical care training with the sea-calves (by turns with the sea-bears, seals and sea-lions)
takes place on Wednesday, 13.00 hrs.
Publication referring to the theme “Animal training” came out in “Living with Animals”,
Edition 1/2009 – The Journal of the Veterinarians for Patient Owners” (www.leben-mit-tieren.com)
You may download in German: “Komm Mensch, spiel mit mir!” (= Come human – Play with me!)
Encouragement of animals?
Today the modern zoo animal keeping does not mean only to build the hedge as large as possible and to take care of them at optimum but also to arrange the day of the zoo animals rich of varities so far as possible. In the free preserve the senses are always called for by a variety of environment impulses which is only possible in a limited way in a zoo hedge although showing a good structure and natural conditions. Now the animal keeper is required who always enriches the day of the zoo animals with new ideas. (behavioural enrichment).
Besides the animal encouragement this also gives advantages to the animal keeper while his daily working with the animals. Resettlement, veterinary examinations have become more easier.
This care training has its origin in the USA especially used for sea mammals. A complete examination of the animal can be carried out by cooperation with the animal and it keeps quiet at its place.
Today this is also practiced at whales and dolphins, sea-calves and also at dangerous animals like elephant bulls, bears or primacies to undertake care or veterinary medical steps without having to narcotize the animals.
How does it work?
The animal learns that certain behaviour does have certain consequences. If an animal shows a certain behaviour and the consequence following hereafter is a positive one (reward) the probability is very big that the animal repeats its behaviour.
The target, a tennis ball at a long stick, is a very important helping instrument. If the animal touches the tennis ball there sounds a whistle as a bridge signal and f.e. a fish being a reward for our sea-calves. After a short time the animal learns to follow the target and you can lead it to a certain place.
This training is applied to all three seal species in the Zoo am Meer and has helped us a lot. When the animals had to move from their old hedges during the refit of the zoo our sea-lions and sea-bears had marched “by foot” behind the target into the new areas. So it became more stressless to animals and humans because if you have to move a sea-lion bull with a weight of 400 kg into a transport box this means a lot of stress. Only fish as a bait would not have been sufficient for animals under stress do not feed them.
Occupation is of big importance also for other animals in the Zoo am Meer. The attraction for the chimpanzees is an artificial termite hillock. The chimpanzees have to rig up boughs by which they can reach a honey pot through different holes in the “termite hillock”. Of course they do not see where they are fishing for.
Seeds are spread which they have to collect like in the free preserve. Things with food are hung and the brain power of the chimpanzees is required to reach the food. Similar things are also done for the polar-bears but of course not in such a “difficult way”. The pumas are encouraged with odorous substances which are exiting to them.
There are no limits to the creative conception of the animal keeper. By this way the playing behaviour can be reinforced, aggression and stereotypes can be prevented