Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Joburg Zoo keepers find an easier way to dose apes

Keepers at the Joburg Zoo may have found a way to make the dosing of animals just a little easier.

The keepers of the ape section, in anticipation of the need to inoculate the primates, decided to experiment on their pair of gibbons, Dodi and Glasgow, and their new baby boy.

Learner keeper Faye Robinson explained: “Every time we need to give them shots or medicine, we are normally forced to catch them and pin them down.”

Three months ago the keepers started coaxing the gibbons to put their arms through the cage, allowing the keepers to hold them.

“We took an empty syringe and started tapping them on the arm, to get them used to it. The true test came last week when they needed to get their shots and the gibbons obediently offered their arms for it.”

In addition, the keepers also filled other syringes with juice or banana yoghurt and coaxed the gibbons to suck from the end of the syringe, to accustom them to taking medicine orally.

According to Althea Guinsberg, curator of the primates, if this method proves effective it will be tried out on other primates at the zoo.

Story here.


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