Implementation of animal training as a management tool
Our research shows that animal training in the form of cooperative feeding can be used to help manage social behaviours in group living animals, particularly during periods of aggression.
Implementing positive reinforcement training in the form of target training for specific aggressors can allow keepers to maintain the focus of animals, monitor group food intake and help to reduce overall instances of aggression.
Living Coasts, the site of Wild Planet Trust’s former coastal zoo, implemented a training programme for their ray species to help manage food-related aggression and monitor the effect of a scheduled training event on behaviour. Aggressive instances were shown to be lower on days when training had taken place and this practise was incorporated into daily husbandry, to maintain and monitor behavioural issues.
Farmer, H.L., Murphy, G., Newbolt, J. (2019). Change in stingray behaviour and social networks in response to the scheduling of husbandry events. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 7(4), 203–209.