Episodes
Published 05/19/22
Recently, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums held its annual meeting at SeaWorld of Florida. We had the opportunity to hear from several researchers on the latest zoo and aquarium animal welfare studies, with an emphasis on cetaceans. In part one of this two part series, we hear from Dr. Lance Miller from the Chicago Zoological Society on how the organization monitors, assesses, and studies welfare across the entire zoo collection. Dr. Miller also provides an overview of the...
Published 05/19/22
In 1988 two veterinarians launched a dolphin facility on the Big Island of Hawaii that would help usher in a whole new experience between humans and bottlenose dolphins. That company, Dolphin Quest, has been a pioneer in creating guest interactive experiences based on science, conservation and education about the ocean environment and its most well-known cetacean ambassadors. Co-founder, Dr. Rae Stone pierced the once male dominated veterinary profession and lead the way in the use of...
Published 05/12/22
No one is immune from heart-wrenching video clips of animals in dire conditions, particularly a stranded marine mammal or one ensnared in ghost nets, crab traps, and other ocean debris. While most people want to assist wild animals in need, few of us are trained, experienced, and authorized to intervene in what can be an incredibly dangerous situation for both animals and humans. Keith Yip is an experienced animal care professional with decades of experience in husbandry, transport logistics,...
Published 05/05/22
According to its website, Wildlife ACT is a non-profit trust on a mission to save endangered wildlife and wild places from extinction. Its professionals, like our guest PJ Roberts, work in the field to monitor endangered and critically endangered species, including lesser known and appreciated animals like vultures. To assist in their conservation and fundraising efforts, Wildlife Act incorporates tourists as part of their data collection and monitoring services to protected areas in South...
Published 04/28/22
In a world weary of pandemic, we asked Dr. Yvonne Nadler, long time veterinary expert with the ZAHP Fusion Center, to describe the risks to animals from the latest strain of Avian Influenza. This year's strain appears more active than in recent years, which places the nation's poultry industry at greater risk. Other facilities like zoos and aquariums are at heightened risk of an outbreak due to accidental spread through public visitation as well as the mingling of collection and wild species...
Published 04/21/22
The animal care and veterinary heroes behind Saving the Survivors  treat wild and endangered animals that are victims of poaching or traumatic incidents. Most of the organization's work has focused on caring for rhinos in the field that have been illegally and horrifically attacked by those seeking to profit from the animal's horns. According to the organization's website, many injured animals have been given a second chance after undergoing various interventions and multiple surgical...
Published 04/14/22
In her new book, After the Forests: Thailand’s Captive Elephants and Their People, Dr. Nikki Savvides explores the life and welfare of Thailand's captive elephants. Neither wild nor domesticated, these animals, once utilized in the country's now defunct logging industry, find themselves in a newer and uncertain industry: tourism. The book also examines the people who care for these elephants — including their mahouts, activists, conservationists, and tourists committed to improving elephant...
Published 04/07/22
Should families have long-lived animals like parrots as pets?  Do owls make good animal ambassadors? The founder of Avian Behavior International, Hillary Hankey, works to ensure bird’s have better lives and to reduce behavior-caused stress for owners in the home. Bird training is complex and with so much random information online, she believes training them properly with positive reinforcement can be overwhelming to learn and even harder to implement. So she and her team created online and...
Published 03/31/22
Following his work in Kabul and Baghdad rescuing zoological animals caught in war zones, author and conservationist Brendan Whittington-Jones began a seven year stint studying endangered and often maligned African Wild Dogs. In his book, African Wild Dogs: on the front lines, he describes his work examining the behavior of this species once they leave the relative safety of protected reserves and venture out into human civilization. Brendan compares them to the story of wolves in North...
Published 03/24/22
Not since Keiko or Tilikum has a killer whale garnered as much attention as the single orca resident of Miami Seaquarium known as Lolita. Estimated to be about 56 years old, she has lived at the park since the early 1970's. To learn more about this amazing animal, one of the park's longtime executives and eventual general manager, Andrew Hertz describes his family's interwoven history with the facility and its grande dame. Animal Care Software KONG Zoo Zoo Logic
Published 03/17/22
When Coalition Forces invaded Iraq in 2003, the security situation across the country and in major cities like Baghdad was grim. Amongst all the devastation of war, the situation for the Baghdad zoo animals was critical with starvation, dehydration, poaching, and shelling reducing the collection to a few dozen inhabitants. Along with his boss, South African Brendan Whittington-Jones, a game rancher turned captive animal rescuer, researcher and author, travelled to Baghdad with no money or...
Published 03/10/22
Across the globe, few have been spared the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of personal, public, and animal health, business operations, and travel to name a few. As animal professionals know having experienced it firsthand, public attractions like zoological parks were among the first and hardest hit facilities as the pandemic's effects on a mobile society grew. What were some of the earliest steps taken to blunt these outcomes? How did previous regional pandemics and disaster...
Published 03/03/22
Recent news reports of state and federal agencies taking the extraordinary step of providing supplemental feeding to starving wild manatees point to a larger problem, the decline of vital seagrass beds due to runoff, coastal development, and dredging. Seagrass not only supplies nourishment to turtles and manatees, it is also used by countless aquatic species as a nursery and habitat. Beau Williams of Aquaticus Plants and Aquatech Eco Consultants discusses their efforts to sustainably source...
Published 02/24/22
Just as the scope of the COVID 19 pandemic was becoming clear, the animal team at OdySea Aquarium realized their latest black-footed penguin hatchling was not achieving normal developmental milestones. While she was otherwise healthy and growing, the team observed "Rosie" was not progressing in her ability to stand or walk. Despite the impact COVID had on staffing, operations and the temporary closure of the aquarium, the team was committed to improving the mobility of this special penguin....
Published 02/17/22
Son of famous paleoanthropologists, Mary and Louis Leakey, Richard Leakey was also famous for his discoveries on the origins of early humans, particularly the nearly complete skeletal remains of what became known as Turkana Boy. As a Kenyan of British descent, Richard Leakey lived a fascinating life in East Africa as a researcher and conservationist. In 1989, Leakey was named the head of the Kenyan Wildlife Conservation and Management Department which eventually became what is known today as...
Published 02/10/22
While not a completely new phenomena, the COVID pandemic has exposed the public's lack of training in and understanding of the scientific method and the process of doing science. Increasingly, one's opinion or online search results are valued as much as someone else's peer reviewed data, according to returning guest, Dr. Jason Bruck. To guard against unsubstantiated, anthropomorphic narratives or rampant conspiracy theories, he argues we need a return to parsimony, the concept that the...
Published 02/03/22
Last year, several major zoological parks named a woman to their organization's top leadership position. In some cases, these appointments mark the first time a woman has ever held the role of director at their respective institutions. As part of our ongoing conversation about increasing diversity in zoos and aquariums, Dr. Brandie Smith, recently named director of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, discusses what this trend means to her and to future...
Published 01/27/22
Biologist EO Wilson has been called the heir to Darwin. His decades of work in evolutionary biology and island ecology has helped shape modern thinking about species conservation and the increased extinction risks associated with shrinking wild habitats. Science author Jeremy Hance had the opportunity to interview Dr Wilson a few years prior to his recent passing and shares insights into the legendary researcher's life, work, and legacy.  Animal care Software KONG Zoo Zoo Logic
Published 01/20/22
As most fans know, the late Betty White loved animals and zoos. She routinely donated her time and support to zoos and aquariums and often shared the stage with her good friend, Jungle Jack Hanna. Conservation Ambassador's, David Jackson returns to describe what working with Betty was like on and off stage. Plus, the passing of another zoological icon. Animal Care Software KONG Zoo Zoo Logic ZOOmility
Published 01/13/22
After nearly a 3-year gap since its last annual conference due to the pandemic, the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association (IMATA) will soon host an in-person conference in Chicago. The timing couldn't be better with 2022 marking the 50th anniversary of the animal training organization. Madelynn Hettiger, animal manager with the Shedd Aquarium and IMATA VP responsible for planning the conference discusses the lineup of speakers, workshops, and events. That Sounds Wild: mini...
Published 01/06/22
Dedicated to preserving animals uniquely adapted to survive the hottest, driest, and sparsely vegetated desert for which it is named, the Sahara Conservation Fund works to preserve habitat and to reintroduce critically endangered species to the wild. SCF CEO John Watkin describes the organization's successful cooperation among zoos, field biologists, governments and supporters to maintain nationally protected areas and build productive breeding and return programs with species on the brink of...
Published 12/30/21
Recently, Zoo Logic was invited to participate in an online international Cooperative Care Conference conducted by the behavioral team at ZooSpensefull. Our topic was a focused look at the enigmatic Least Reinforcing Scenario with one of the architects of the behavioral tool, Ted Turner. After more than 30 years, why is there ongoing debate about the LRS? Why do some still conflate the LRS with a timeout? More importantly, what are the behavioral laws that form the basis for the LRS and its...
Published 12/23/21
On a cold day sixteen years ago, a months old bottlenose dolphin calf was entangled by a crab trap. Thanks to a quick thinking fisherman notifying rescuers, the animal was eventually freed from the strangling ropes and taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for recovery. The constriction of blood flow to her tail led to the loss of her flukes and marked the beginning of an extraordinary tale of survival and perseverance by a small cetacean the world would eventually come to know thanks to a...
Published 12/16/21
Animal professionals often experience great highs in their work from the birth of an endangered species to the smiles on the young faces of future conservationists. Yet, animal work is often heavy with the sadness of losing a dear animal or frustration at the slow pace of societal change for the better. To help individuals and institutions better navigate chronic and acute mental health aspects of animal work, our guest Erin McNally, helped create GRAZE: Growing Resiliency for Aquarium and...
Published 12/09/21