Working Together Safely
Training our lions is a group effort! I’m the lead trainer, but our other Great Cats keepers, including Charlie, Dell, our assistant curator Leigh, and our curator Craig, can perform these tasks too. Safety is our main priority, so we always have two keepers present when touching a lion. One person can focus on the lion’s attention while the other can concentrate on staying safe. Our veterinarians and vet technicians have also practiced drawing blood, taking blood pressure readings, and conducting laser therapy with the lions. Having the whole team ready to help means the lions can always receive treatment, no matter who is working.
Next time you’re at the Zoo, stop by the Great Cats exhibit to see our lions and tigers. And if you see one of our keepers around, please ask us any questions you might have!
The “How Do You …” series gives readers an insider’s look at how animal keepers use activities, food, training and toys to care for animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. How do you get an elephant to exercise, safely introduce two songbirds or prepare a cheetah for a veterinary exam? Find out how enrichment stimulates the senses, why training builds trust, and how keepers come up with new ways for animals to explore and use their natural behaviors each day.