Behavioral Enrichment and Operant Conditioning
Behavioral enrichment provides animals opportunities for physical and behavioral stimulation and activities to counter stress and boredom.
Training a tapir with whistle and target stick.
Photo: Louisville Zoo
Operant conditioning is a highly advanced and systematic form of reward-based training. It is inherently rewarding to the animals and greatly facilitates husbandry procedures.
Behavioral enrichment and operant conditioning are moving from specialist remedial practices to normal daily animal keeper activities, which have major implications for facility and management design.
Diagram: Jon Coe
Left: For traditional management, the animal transfer door is at the back of the holding area most distant from the keeper. Right: For operant conditioning management, the animal transfer door is by the front, or keeper's side of the of the holding area.
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