Did you know that most of the animals at our Zoo participate in voluntary training? Even our American alligator enjoys training sessions with his animal care staff!
The behavior demonstrated in this video is called a “target” behavior. Our gator is rewarded with fresh meat for approaching the red end of the target pole with his nose. The target pole directs him to move him around his habitat space by following the pole. The second pole-like object is a grabber that has his meat treat, since the caretaker cannot directly hand him his food.
In general, training also helps build trusting relationships between animals are their trainers and provides a source of fun mental enrichment!