Aug 26, 2021
Denver Zoo behavioral manager, Heather Genter describes her lifelong passion for animal training. Starting out with her own dog training business, she graduated to working with exotic species at a time when zoos didn't have behavioral managers and it seemed only sea lions and elephants were being trained. Following the operant conditioning and positive reinforcement principles she learned training dogs and by observing the sea lion keepers, she began working with spider monkeys to teach them how to safely and calmly participate in annual exams despite the initial protests by her manager. With zoos and aquariums widely using behavioral techniques across an array of species today, she thinks zoological professionals have only just begun to realize the benefits for animal health, welfare, research and the guest experience.
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