is a follow up documentation regarding the future possibilities of improvements of
all species as well as Rita, Timmy and Tina
Timmy and Tina together
chimpanzee immobilization with Doha Zoo Management
It seems to me
that basic husbandry and enrichment projects will be difficult to
be installed unless the Doha Zoo makes some significant adjusting.
These changes do not necessarily need to involve financial
burdens, but rather changing mindsets.
visibility and activity.
Animals need to be more viewable to the visitors. Lack of
shade, substrate, water, etc ., are forcing the animals to
hide in crevices and away from comfortable view.
Decreasing heat by providing shade structures, climbing devices closer to public
view, water falls (hose and irrigation heads on timers), coolers,
fans, mist fans, pools, wallows, covered surfaces with soil, sand,
hay, leaves, mulch, perches, logs, branches, wooden hiding boxes,
logs that offer them a place to feel more secure (although still
visible), etc ., will allow the animals to utilize three
dimensional space, to cool their temperature off and therefore
increase their activities. It will also be beneficial for the
animals’ health (please review exhibit improvement document
submitted on 06-10-10).
Hanging curtains. Heat can be decreased also by using curtains of large square
patches fastened above the enclosure. The curtains can be made
from tarps or better, from material used to cover banana
plantations and in green houses to filter sun rays. These patches
of material can be fastened in sections above the enclosure,
depending how the sun moves on its daily route [M. Seres].
Another important asset would be growing grass. It de creases the
temperature (instantly by 10 F if I heard correctly), provides
instant substrate, esthetic from visitor point of view,
comfortable to walk on and prevents hoof and paw problems. We have
just seeded our rhino yard two weeks ago after 47 years the first
time and the grass is growing splendidly. Please review attached
smoking zoo. In the past few
years more and more zoos became non smoking in the USA
(including the Phoenix Zoo). Prohibiting smoking could
entirely prevent visitors throwing cigarette butts into cages
and set them on fire. This act would also provide a
trustworthy environment to freely place substrate into any
cages without fire hazards.
also noticed that, there were no ashtrays anywhere (or at least I
have not seen any) on zoo grounds. Increasing ashtrays or
assigning smoking areas could also help if a “smoke free” zoo
is not an option. “Our zoo went to all non-smoking beginning in
2009, specifically for fire risk reasons. We have low water
pressure due to old water mains (being upgraded now), and lots of
mulch planter pockets, so were getting mulch smoldering and fires
every year” [H. Hellmuth].
guest behavior. It is more likely,
that the main reason of visitors provoking animals is to get a
better look and/or to increase animal action and visibility.
This problem cannot be solved until the modifications that are
listed under #1 paragraph will be done.
are some preventative measures that can be done before
and/or simultaneously with exhibit changes, however, they are
either long term goals and cannot be immediately implemented or
require some financial investments
a volunteer program. Visitors
hardly ever read signs. Arranging
interpretive volunteers and security guards at the exhibits
can serve dual purposes:
with the guests will serve as an entertainment, information
collection and an important educational tool to prevent current
and future animal mistreatment.
of a zoo official induces self awareness and therefore decreases
obnoxious guest behaviors
barriers between visitors and
animals to bloc k public access to the animals and also
animal access to the public.
rails. Jenny has
already suggested moving the safety rails and visitor pathway
further away from the front of the exhibits. Especially the
chimpanzee exhibit. By
moving it back approximately two meters, the chimps would relax
and not be fed junk food. This
would also help with cigarette problems.
Ø Plants or fake
plants (i.e. fake bamboo poles to break up
direct visual lines) can be installed in front of the cages. For
example, if Tina chimp is throwing sand due to provocation,
offering the chimps safety by breaking up the 'visitor wall' would
decrease or completely stop her behavior. Breaking up the 'visitor
wall' has been shown recently in baboons to both increase
visibility and behavioral repertoire” [D. Minier]. Jenny also
suggested cactuses as barriers. They are very pleasing
esthetically but fairly unapproachable.
mesh/net. “A fine, 1" gauge wire
mesh/net hung vertically in between the visitors. The hanging mesh
can be 15-20 feet high, perhaps easy to install and less costly.
Besides, it does not hold up air, it does "ventilate" in
the heat, not like Plexiglas that may even reflects more heat. It
can be "painted" black in order to see through better
and perhaps prevents items that people throw to go through.
Something like the North Carolina Zoo used to have to prevent
chimps throwing rocks at visitors a few years back [M. Seres].
Ø Dog in carnivore night house is currently
kept in a small area with no direct light, fresh air, substrate
and enrichment. Maybe he could be moved into an exhibit (such as
the wolf) and being alternated.
Ø Lions. Creating a pride by introducing all
female lions and adding one male would free up some room to house
the rest of the lions in a more comfortable level as well
demonstrating more species-appropriate social setting.
Ø Parrots that are housed solitary could be
paired up. These animals (although they live in large groups)
within the group they live in pairs. Male – female bonding, as
well as exhibiting proper social behaviors are very important for
them. Maybe some parrots could be rescued from the market? They
would certainly have a better life in the zoo than in somebody’s
private home. Birds in general also need some Eucalyptus branches
for visual barriers, hiding places and to imitate natural looking
should not receive Eucalyptus, only edible browse, since they will
chew on them and Eucalyptus is
poisonous, but for other birds that will not chew, it is a
fantastic resource and the Doha Zoo have it in a abundance.
Ø Hyena and
tortoises could deal with the heat better if they
had a wallow. I have seen the hyena trying to roll in mud (made of
the excess water coming out from under the door of the night house
while the keeper was hosing). For these animals, mud is not just
simply a cooling option but an important part of their skin care.
Ø Perching in general. Animals living in homogeneous enclosures with large, inflexible,
continuous supports, display different patterns of locomotion than
those in more naturalistic and complex environments with
Perches, shelves, ladders, swings, ropes, barrels, boxes and other
structures can be added to all exhibits. Wood, plastic and fiber
have the advantage of being non-thermo conductive, which is
follow up. I’m pleased to
hear through Jenny’s reports that the chimpanzees are doing
well, Rita is coming inside the night house now and the
chimpanzees are grooming, playing and adjusting well while
getting to know each other.
Ø Removing the
barrier and establishing volunteer help. When you are ready to take the temporary barriers
down, I would like to suggest to have
some volunteers/security guards standing there, taking 2-4 hours
shifts explaining the introduction, chimpanzee behaviors and the
different personalities of the chimpanzees as well as physically
protecting the chimpanzees from harm. Tina, now that she
discovered that she could get back at the visitors by throwing
sand at them will not likely change her behavior as well as Timmy
will always be upset every time he sees a man due to previous bad
experiences. Timmy really dislikes men! Removing the sand is not
really a solution, the chimps with find something else to throw
and I’m afraid it might be fecal matter or food, urine, etc.,
which is a frequent chimpanzee behavior all over in the world in
captivity. Moving them into the Dome would not help either, since
the Dome cannot be utilized three dimensionally and all the chimps
would have is small floor space and no climbing structures to
exhibit species-appropriate behaviors. It seems like, that the
best immediate relief is to have volunteers helping out at least
until the management decides what type of alternations can be done
with the visitor pathways and the railing system. Another
option would be to move the temporary barriers a bit closer
so that people can make the circle walk around the bird cage and
still be away from the chimps. That might gradually get
Timmy and Tina more used to the crowds. Right now the
barrier stops any people passing on that side of the bird
Ø Moving the
sleeping basket from the Dome
to Rita’s exhibit would help utilize space even better by
increasing sleeping opportunities up in the canopy and would
provide the chimps a safety zone high above and away from the
public which would probably further decrease antagonistic
Ø Moving the
puzzle feeder from the Dome to Rita’s exhibit
would help extending foraging time.
Ø The puzzle
feeders should be placed into a lower level so they are
easily accessed by the keepers. This would ensure that the keepers
would fill them up daily even when they are in a hurry.
feeding time. Chimpanzees spend an average 27.5%
with foraging [L. Brent]. One feeding time and at night is not
suggested. Now, when Rita chimp comes inside reliably, we could
try scattering less desirable food all over exhibit as well as
placing them into the two puzzle feeders and saving the novelty
food items for shifting the chimps inside at night.
- Browse. As I walked around with Mr. Hassan, I
realized that indeed there are not enough browseable trees on
zoo grounds to sustain the collections needs.
Ø Lucerne Alfalfa
c ago sativa). Fresh Lucerne is already given to hoof
stock all over the zoo. This plant in my understanding is not
expensive and comes in large amounts to the Doha Zoo and therefore
could easily replace browse for all species. Lu c erne is very
good substitute for trees and leafy branches due to its highly digestible
fiber. Although, it is suggested not to be given every day and in
high amounts due to its high protein content. This plant could be given
to all primates and carnivores as well as to birds in suggested
amounts determined by the veterinarian.
Ø Farms and
In my understanding there are
surrounding establishments all over in Doha that have access
plants being disposed regularly. These plants (if they are not
sprayed with pesticides) could be regularly picked up and
distributed to all animals needed. It would also create a good
relationship between the zoo and the plantations.
Ø Trees planted
into exhibits. Geographically fitting, edible trees could be planted into each
exhibit in abundance that would provide shade and food in a few
years as well as making the exhibit more pleasing for the human
Ø Browse gardens could be established all over on zoo
grounds. Since most of the trees will not geographically fit into
the landscape, these gardens could be established either out of
visitor’s view, or explained by signs for the visitors about
and training programs
have been most pleased that you were satisfied with my visit and
offered me a possible return for further consultations. During my
visit, we established some good, solid basic husbandry
improvements as well as introduced three chimpanzees together. The
next step would be elevating these programs into well–oiled,
every day management techniques.
program. In the near future, I would like to
come again and follow up on zoo wide enrichment programs and
establishing an actual self-sustaining plan by outlining a solid
framework. There is no
self-sustained system without the complete circle of the SPIDER
method suggested by Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
SPIDER is an acronym for:
I could also train the staff, develop their
technical skills and change their attitude toward “what can be
done” as opposed to the frequent answer of “it cannot be done”.
New programs and new ideas cannot be successfully implemented
without the staff fully understanding the reasons and logistics
behind them. They need to accept that these ideas are plausible,
and be trained to understand the final outcome as well as all the
details that will lead to accomplishing it.
Ø Animal training
husbandry and medical training mutually could help both the
animals and the staff. It
is less stressful for the animals as well as for the keepers and
the veterinarians. For example, if the chimpanzees would have been
trained to shift into a transfer cage, we would not had to have
gone though darting them, worrying about them recovering safely,
we could have saved time and the entire procedure could have been
done by maybe 1 or 2 person as oppose to an entire team of people.
I would like to establish basic crate training all over the zoo as
well as scale training. Shifting and more importantly scale
training is the most significant, basic training program requested
by all veterinarians as first choice. If an animal is s c ale
trained, the weight of the animals can provide immediate
information to a vet regarding the physical health of the animal
(is it overweight, normal weight or sick and lost some weight) as
well as letting them know how much medicine needs to be given, or
how much drug needs to be used during immobilizations. All these
can be done without ever touching the animal, stressing anybody
out and be accomplished by one staff member in no time and within
a safe environment. Here are some more examples how training can