John Ball Zoo offers inside look at animal feeding, training

Daily animal programs allow guests to see animal care in action 

When it’s time for food or a training session, John Ball Zoo guests have opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the animals.
Through the Zoo’s Daily Animal Programs, guests can get a first-hand look at how animal caretakers care for the animals. John Ball Zoo is offering new Daily Animal Programs this season, including hippo keeper chats and training and feeding with the new Chacoan peccaries, a pig-like animal from Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
“We want to inspire hearts and inform minds every day at John Ball Zoo, and providing additional opportunities to see animals exhibiting their natural behaviors gives guests a chance to connect with our mission of saving wildlife and wild places,” said Rhiannon Mulligan, education manager at John Ball Zoo. “There are many opportunities for guests to see these programs in action and learn from our expert animal care team.”
Daily Animal Programs also include penguin and bear feedings and sloth and coati training, among others. The programming is posted on the Zoo’s website. The Zoo has developed these programs so guests can experience them on their route through the Zoo.
These programs offer a true inside look at the work the animal care team does every day. Many of the experiences are part of the animals’ regular feeding or training schedules. John Ball Zoo utilizes positive reinforcement-based training techniques to encourage animals to participate in their own health care and daily routines. Positive reinforcement training utilizes the animals’ favorite food items or toys to help the behaviors being trained. Through positive reinforcement training, trusting relationships are formed between the animals and caretakers by empowering the animals to choose to participate.
Through the Zoo’s Daily Animal Programs, guests may also see some of the ambassador animals out meeting new people. Ambassador animals are animals that come out of their habitats to educate guests about the natural world. These animals demonstrate a desire to be around people and are specially trained to feel comfortable in new spaces and around new people.
“Our team works directly with the animals daily to foster these behaviors that ultimately help our animals receive the best quality care,” Mulligan said. “We love that guests are interested in this aspect of our work and encourage them to seek out Daily Animal Programs to learn more.”
More about Daily Animal Programs can be found on the Zoo’s website.