Thursday, February 17, 2011
Ollie the sea otter is progressing nicely in her school work at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Her training continues with husbandry behaviors designed to help in her care and well-being.
Ollie is getting the hang of the learning routine that Caitlin and the other mammalogists are putting her through. She is becoming more consistent in coming out of the water when asked. She’s also getting better at going back into the water when asked although sometimes she may take a round-about way to get there.
One husbandry behavior that she’s becoming good at is tactile training. Our pinnipeds and otters at the Aquarium of the Pacific are all taught to allow the staff to touch them. This “tactile” behavior enables the staff to fully check over an animal’s body to assist in their care. Ollie, being a people-oriented otter from the start, is almost fully comfortable in having her trainers touch her fur during a training session. After all these are the same folks that helped groom her when she was too young to do it herself just a few months ago!
She’s adapting so well to the training that her caretakers are giving her that they have already added a more advanced behavior to her learning list. Ollie is being taught how to enter a transport kennel when asked. Perfecting this behavior will make it easier when she makes the big move to the main exhibit in the future. For now though Ollie seems to be as interested in inspecting every part of the kennel as she is in entering it as evident in one of the accompanying photographs. She’s still a young, curious, and lovable sea otter at heart.
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