How Zoo Animals Learn to Help Take Care of Themselves

How Zoo Animals Learn to Help Take Care of Themselves

By JOANNA KLEIN JAN. 18, 2017

 

A birthday celebration for Colo, a gorilla who recently died at 60, about 20 years older than her expected life span in the wild. Credit Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 

This week, shortly after her 60th birthday, Colo, the first gorilla born in human care, died in her sleep. Part of the reason she lived so long — about 20 years longer than gorillas born in the wild — is because of the care she received.

In zoos today, keepers work to reduce the stress of caregiving by training animals to be a part of their own care. Gorillas drink from bottles. Rhinos learn to get their teeth brushed. Lions are trained to get vaccines. Read more.