JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The complex, diversified exhibit your favorite animal lives in is brought to them by Jacksonville Zoo’s Animal Wellness team. The team is one of only seven that exist in zoos across the United States.
They use behavioral science to create environments for the animals to thrive in.
“Those things that we’ve learned from experience and also from observation and analysis and research, we wanted to make sure we gave the animals as much choice and freedom and variety as possible,” Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Deputy Zoo Director for Animal Care, Conservation and Wellness Dan Maloney said.
The team also assesses quality of life for each animal, including physical and mental fitness.
Through comprehensive processes such as evaluations and assessments, the wellness team looks to improve individual and group welfare.
“You realize the animals are behaving less stressfully. They can choose to take themselves into different parts of the exhibit,” Maloney said.
The Animal Wellness team is led by internationally recognized animal behavior, welfare and conservation expert Dr. Terry Maple.
Joining Maple is Wildlife Wellness and Research Officer Fatima Ramis and Wildlife Wellness Administrative Assistant Marisa Spain. Maloney said a professor-in-residence from University of North Florida is also joining the team for the summer.
The goal of the team is to ultimately improve the animals’ lives.
The future of the team, according to Maloney, is limitless.
To learn more about the team, click here.
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