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The Environmental Husbandry Manual
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Problem Devices & Routines

The following devices and routines have been tested at Edinburgh Zoo and found to cause problems. It is therefore recommended that the problems illustrated be considered, and the solutions be applied before attempting to use similar methods.

Problem Chimpanzee Termite Mound - In order to clean or fill the termite mound with yoghurt, syrup, etc., the keepers require access to the outdoor enclosure. This requires that the chimpanzees are all locked inside, which they actively attempt to avoid, so the device is rarely used.
Solution Mount the feeder in the inside enclosure, or attached to the wall of the outdoor enclosure, with refill pipes fed into the device from the keeper access area.
Problem Object Throwing. Rhinos given large plastic balls and rubber car tyres to play with occasionally manoeuvred them into a position from which they could be thrown out of the enclosure, potentially endangering staff or members of the public.
Solution Devices and items to be put into enclosures should be considered carefully from a safety point of view beforehand, and the actions of the animal with the device observed to ensure it does not become a risk. If an item can be thrown from an open area of the enclosure, it should be tethered or provided in an alternative location where it does not pose a risk, or a safe device used instead.
Problem Stress. A pair of agouti moved to Edinburgh Zoo from elsewhere, then moved around several enclosures before being housed with tapir reacted very badly to the stress of the moves and possible bullying by the tapirs.
Solution All nervous animals need to be handled with care, and exposed to as few unnecessary stresses as possible. When mixing animals in groups, or with different species, introductions must be gradual, and under constant observation. Even if one group of animals is mixed successfully with another, this does not mean that different individuals of those species will do so as well.
Problem Stress. Black-faced Ibis were housed with Flamingo’s. When keepers passed the enclosure, the Ibis gave alarm calls, which disturbed and alarmed the Flamingo’s, and disrupted breeding.
Solution Do not house "flighty" animals with or near to those which give alarm calls at the slightest reason. Breeding of Flamingo’s was successful when the Ibis were re-housed elsewhere in the zoo.
Problem Feeding Competition. Muntjack Deer housed in a mixed enclosure with Wallabies eat the ‘Diet A’ food pellets intended for the wallabies.
Solution Feeding the animals separately reduces the possibilities for scatter feeding as enrichment, so a swinging container for food, requiring paws to hold it steady would allow the wallabies to feed from it while making it difficult for the deer.
Problem Inappropriate Human Stimulation. A male Moluccan Cockatoo displayed extremely frequently to members of the public, neglecting the female and reducing breeding success.
Solution A screening barrier of planks of barked wood was erected in front of the viewing area, so that the male received less stimulation from the public, and concentrated more on the female.

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