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Animal Care and Well-Being at the Academy

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    ♪ (intro music) ♪
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    Enrichment and training programs
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    are ingrained in the work
    that we do every day.
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    They're not extras,
    they're not if we have time,
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    they are the baseline for animal care,
    here at the Academy.
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    We have 38,000 animals under our care,
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    everything from leafcutter ants
    to American alligator, to sharks.
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    That looks different
    for everyone.
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    You're not going to have the same program
    for an octopus than a leafcutter ant.
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    But we do take
    all of their needs and conditions
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    that need to be met for them
    to really thrive into consideration.
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    So, everything from naturalistic exhibits
    and mixed-species exhibits
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    to formal training programs,
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    where we're focusing
    on specific behaviors,
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    is to provide a lot of choices
    within the environments
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    for the animals to choose from
    on a daily basis.
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    Each one has its personality.
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    In fact, that's one of the easiest ways
    we can distinguish between who's who.
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    Some of them are a little more shy,
    Some will come up to you right away.
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    Some will hang out
    with you the whole time.
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    Getting in with them is
    probably the highlight of my week.
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    The minute we get in,
    we're just surrounded by them,
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    whether they want
    a little scratch on the nose
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    or to be kind of pet on the head.
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    They like that interaction,
    even when there's no treat.
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    We not only take care of the rays,
    we monitor their diets.
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    We'll put different objects
    in their habitat
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    just to keep things different.
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    In the wild, their habitat would be
    constantly changing,
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    and that keeps their mind moving,
    active and curious.
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    ♪ (music) ♪
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    Every morning, we do enrichment
    during the feeding programs.
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    For the scale training,
    they're stepping up onto the scale.
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    We can see
    if their weight is fluctuating.
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    For they can't talk to us,
    we don't know if they're not feeling well,
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    if they're getting sick,
    so weight decreases and eating less food
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    is really important for us
    to talk to our vet
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    and see what he thinks might be going on.
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    Enrichment can be anything
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    from putting logs and rocks
    in the exhibit, or nesting material.
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    I'll hand it out
    and they'll grab it with their beak
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    and then bring it back to their nest.
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    We want to have changes in there,
    something new in their environment
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    or that stimulates their brain
    in a certain way.
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    The enrichment's definitely important
    for our personal relationship,
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    so they can trust me more,
    I can trust them a little bit more.
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    They know that I'm not trying
    to hurt them.
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    ♪ (music) ♪
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    Training is really building a language
    between you and an animal.
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    We can't ask them questions,
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    so we have to find a way
    to communicate with each other
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    to identify what we want from them
    and what they want and need from us, too.
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    It allows us to actually
    move them back and forth
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    between their night quarters,
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    and, when they're on exhibit
    during the day, in the Rainforest.
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    Another example of their training program
    is nail trimming or clippings.
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    That's a routine part of their care
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    and makes veterinary exams
    a little easier.
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    Other programs include some fun,
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    and with macaws it's usually
    related to chewing and food.
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    They're natural chewers,
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    they forage all day long in the forests
    looking for fruits and seeds and nuts.
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    So we give them browse
    that we cut out of the Rainforest.
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    I also love giving them puzzle toys,
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    so I actually hide parts of their food,
    or treats like nuts,
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    in items that they have to manipulate
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    and try to figure out
    how to get them out of.
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    That's really good stimulation for them.
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    ♪ (music) ♪
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    It's really fantastic.
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    Having to problem solve,
    to make sure that the animals in your care
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    are truly receiving
    the highest quality care
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    is really exciting,
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    and then to also be able to turn around
    and share that with our guests,
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    to really let these
    ambassador animals shine through
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    to educate and inspire everybody.
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    It really reinforces the idea that,
    as living organisms, we're all connected,
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    we have so much in common,
    and we're really not that different.
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    We all care about
    where we're going to get our food,
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    do we have shelter,
    all those important things.
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    It's really not different
    for all of these creatures, too.
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    Watching that every day
    kind of reestablishes that connection,
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    for me, to the rest of the living world.
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    ♪ (music) ♪
Title:
Animal Care and Well-Being at the Academy
Description:

How enrichment programs at the Academy of Sciences of California are an integral part of daily animal care, helping to reinforce bonding between the animals and their carers.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
California Academy of Sciences
Project:
Science Stories
Duration:
04:09

English subtitles

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