Why do we train our animals?

Chahinkapa Zoo strives to provide our animals with the best possible care both physically and psychologically. Operant conditioning is a proven method to reduce stress during routine animal management and veterinary procedures.  


Training will reduce stress, increase mental stimulation, and provide behavioral choices for the animal. Training takes place everyday for all animals in the training program. Animal Trainers encourage guests to participate by watching training sessions and are readily available for questions.

Bear Training

Teeth Check

Keepers give oral exams to the animals to check their teeth for cavities, mouth and tongue for sores. Changing in eating habits is one indication that something in the mouth might be bothering the animal. 

Spider Monkey Training

Belly Present

Belly present is a great way for the keepers to check animals abdomen for hardness, bumps, and abrasions. For female animals, keepers are able to check for pregnancy.

Orangutan Training

Enrichment Painting

Enrichment painting for Tal is an extra added enrichment that he loves to do with Director, Kathy Diekman. Orangutans are extremely intelligent, therefore, they need extra stimulants to use all parts of their brain. Painting makes Tal think more. Tal had an art show that went National. When available, you can purchase Tals paintings.

What does training do?

  • Provides opportunities for Chahinkapa Zoo Staff to build skills and share knowledge with colleagues for the betterment of professional conservation facilities.        

  • Develop the skills in our animal care staff by encouraging staff creativity, keeper-animal relationships, and utilize superior animal management techniques. 

  • Enhances the welfare of each animal.

  • Reduces stress during emergency veterinary procedures.

  • Improves daily management methods.

  • Facilitates introductions with new animals.

  • Creates to be a goal oriented, self sustaining, and measurable program.

Otter Training


Targeting is the first thing most animals are trained to do. Targeting allows the animals to focus on an object for distraction while the keepers check the animal over.

Cougar Training

Side Present (Mock Wound Treatment)

Side present mock wound treatment allows the keepers to apply swat on an animals side/back without having to give anesthetic. This position also allows keepers to get a closer look at the animals sides for wounds and sores. Keepers could also give injections in this position if need be.

What species are currently being trained?

  • Otters

  • Orangutan

  • Cheetahs

  • Snow Leopards

  • Spider Monkeys

  • Cougars

  • Gibbon

  • Camels

  • American Alligator

  • Lemurs

  • Fossa

  • Grizzly Bears

  • American Bison