TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei Zoo has introduced the Animal Behavior Academy — a novel way for the public to learn more about ethology — to serve both recreational and educational purposes.
Peng Jen-lung (彭仁隆), head of the Children’s Zoo zone in the capital’s menagerie, said the program allows the audience to closely watch the behavior of animals. This is a different approach than the conventional performances featuring trained animals, which have caused controversy over wildlife welfare concerns.
The academy focuses on acquainting animals with humans as part of desensitization training so as to reduce the chances of the creatures becoming anxious when they undergo health checks, reported CNA.
Participants are asked to avoid making loud noises or touching any animals that may approach out of curiosity during the sessions. Such “displays” are conducted in the least obtrusive way possible, without forcing trainees to perform stunts for amusement.
Calm appeared to prevail in a 23-minute session on Wednesday (Feb. 10), when some animals got out of control, including a raccoon that refused to return backstage until zookeepers managed to coax it into its cage with snacks. “It’s animal instinct. We let it happen,” said Peng nonchalantly.
The Animal Behavior Academy will officially be inaugurated in March and open every Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Taipei Zoo's Children’s Zoo.
A session for Animal Behavior Academy in Taipei Zoo (CNA photos)