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Amur leopard Sergi at Emerald Park

Zoo News – October 2023

8th November, 2023

Check out our October zoo news. We celebrated an Amur leopards 19th birthday, introduced a new arrival to a companion, and there was even some hornbill toenail cutting!

Happy 19th birthday Sergei!

Our zookeeper’s celebrated male Amur leopard, Sergei’s, 19th birthday on the 22nd of October. Senior keeper Rob made Sergei a special cake and he was given some wrapped presents with meat or scents inside. Sergei has lived at our zoo since October 2011, and this year we introduced a new female Amur leopard to his habitat, Freya. The two now live alongside each other in our zoo.

Did you know…

Amur leopard’s are classed as one of the rarest big cats in the world with the number of individuals in the wild believed to be between 85-100. This number fell to around 30 animals back in the 1970’s. Threats to the subspecies include poaching, forest fires, inbreeding, disease, and habitat destruction for human developments.

An introduction

Silvery marmoset’s

This month we introduced a male silvery marmoset to a female silvery marmoset amethyst. The 5-year old male arrived to our zoo a little earlier this year as part of a European breeding programme. Introductions between the two went amazingly and the male has settled in nicely to his new home at the park.

a pair of silvery marmoset's

📸 Zookeeper Monica 

Toenail training

Southern ground hornbill

Zookeepers Siobhan and Joe have been training our southern ground hornbill, Albert, to have his toenails clipped. Albert is a 12-year old male and has been having an issue with his toenails growing at unusual angles. Our keeper’s decided to train Albert so he could have his nails clipped on a regular basis without having to be restrained to do so. Keeper’s sat down and designed a training program/protocol that suited Albert.

The first step of the protocol was to let Albert get used to the keeper’s touching his feet/toenails. Once Albert was happy to sit calmly allowing Siobhan and Joe to touch his feet in exchange for treats (insects) they moved onto the next step, introducing the nail clippers. This step was going to be a little trickier than just touching his feet. Although we were unsure of how Albert was going to take it, he amazed us all allowing Siobhan to touch his toenails with the clippers after a few short days of introducing them to him.

The final step was cutting his nails. This follows on from touching his nails to placing the clippers around the nail, applying a small amount of pressure to the nail each time and reinforcing this behaviour for each correct response to the cue to cut.

After a discussion on Albert’s progress and it was decided to attempt to cut his nail. The training session leading up to the desired behaviour went great and not only did Siobhan get one toenail cut… she got THREE!

The training of nail cutting is hugely beneficial to both the zookeeper’s and Albert. It will allow the keeper’s to perform this vital piece of healthcare on Albert more regularly and with a less invasive procedure. Ultimately, this gives Albert choice and control in partaking in healthcare procedures which overall improves husbandry and the welfare of his life here at Emerald Park.

Thanks for reading. Check back next month for more zoo updates!

The Emerald Park Zoo Team