American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK)

American Association of Zoo Keepers at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Enriching the Lives of Zoo Animals.

The American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc. (AAZK) is an international, non-profit organization with local chapters throughout the world comprised of dedicated animal care professionals and related persons interested in promoting animal keeping and animal care as a profession.

AAZK serves as a focal point of current information and techniques available to the professional Zoo Keeper. The field keeper is the frontline individual responsible for the daily care and feeding of animals. The role AAZK plays in today’s modern zoos and aquariums is educating the professional keeper and offering them a venue to exchange important information about their profession in the fields of animal husbandry, environmental enrichment, and reproductive success to name a few.

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Events, Happenings & Fundraisers:

 

ARTISTS CALL FOR DONATIONS

ART ON THE HOOF needs your art!
AAZK of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is looking for local artists to donate animal or nature themed art to the 16th annual Art on the Hoof September 21, 2017! Glass, wood, fiber, ceramics, wearable art, mixed media, sculpture, painting, metal, photography, basketry, print makers, jewelry, etc. All media types are welcome! Artists donating three items will guarantee a free piece of art for yourselves and a ticket for $37.50 (half price).
Deadline for art submissions: August 31, 2017, 5 p.m.
View or download the Art Donation Registration Form.
Questions: Please contact 719-424-7833 or email aazk@cmzoo.org.

 

ART ON THE HOOF

DATE: Thursday, September 21, 2017
TIME: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
WHERE: The Loft Music Venue, 2506 W. Colorado Ave. #C, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Join AAZK Zoo Keepers at their 16th annual ART ON THE HOOF fundraiser featuring nature and animal inspired works of art. Work with an estimated value of $100 and up is featured in this event. All guests will receive admission and hors d’oeuvres, and depending upon your ticket level may receive drink tickets and an “ Art Drawing Ticket.” Drawings will occur throughout the evening. When a One-person or Two-person ticket is chosen, the guest chooses a work of art. The drawings continue until all the art finds a new home. All participants get to take a work of art home with them! Higher valued works are auctioned off through silent and live auctions at the event.

TICKETS:
Pre-purchase tickets online here between September 1 – 14, 2017 to be able to have your ticket packets sent via US Mail to you.
Pre-purchase tickets online here between September 15 – 20, 2017 only for a will call check-in the night of for their tickets.

You may purchase your tickets at the door the night of!

Ticket Levels and Prices:

INDIVIDUAL VALUE Ticket: $30

  • Admission for one (1) person
  • One (1) drink ticket
  • Attendance and enjoyment of the event without taking home any artwork

INDIVIDUAL Ticket: $50

  • Admission for one (1) person
  • Hors d’oeuvres
  • One (1) drink ticket
  • One (1) art ticket allowing ticket holder to take home one (1) piece of animal-inspired artwork.

COUPLES Ticket: $85

  • Admission for two (2) people
  • Hors d’oeuvres
  • Two (2) drink tickets
  • One (1) art ticket allowing ticket holder(s) to take home one (1) piece of animal-inspired artwork.

ARTIST Ticket:

  • Artists that donate artwork may choose from any three ticket levels offered above.
  • Receive $15 off your chosen ticket price, per piece of art donated (up to a $45 value).
  • Artist tickets must be purchased at time of artwork donation. No online sales for artist tickets.

Purchase Tickets:

Pre-purchase online tickets sales close 5 p.m. Friday, September 20, 2017.
Will call your drink and art tickets the night of by printing or saving your receipt on your phone for proof of purchase.
After 5 p.m. Friday, September 20, 2017 – tickets will only be available at the door the night of the event.

QUESTIONS: Contact aazk@cmzoo.org or call 719-424-7833.

 

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Local Chapter Info

Our local AAZK chapter at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has many active members from various departments of the Zoo who are dedicated to improving the animals’ quality of life.

Animal Enrichment—AAZK provides funds for animal enrichment, which is very important in the care of animals. It helps promote natural behaviors and a better quality of life for the animals by providing novelty, activity and interest in a variety of ways depending on the species. For example, AAZK helps provide paint for Lucky, our painting elephant. We also provide novelty foods to put into cannolis, a cardboard tube filled with treats. These are just a couple of examples of enrichment that AAZK provides for the animals.

Conservation—AAZK also plays a major role in conservation. The organization provides assistance to species survival in the wild. Our funds purchase acres of rainforest, set up sanctuaries and help provide funding for conservation efforts around the world.

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Conservation Action

AAZK is a national professional organization of zookeepers and other individuals interested in conservation, both locally and internationally. Each year, local AAZK chapters participate in a fundraising event called Bowling for Rhinos (BFR). Since it’s beginning in 1990, BFR has raised $3.5 million to protect the world’s remaining 25,000 rhinos. CMZ’s local BFR event to be scheduled for 2011. To learn more about BFR visit the upcoming events expandable of this web page, visit AAZK’s Bowling for Rhinos Web site, or International Rhino Foundation’s website.

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Animal Enrichment

Animal Enrichment at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

by Dina Bredahl

Area Supervisor – Primate World, Monkey Pavilion & Conservation Barn

Enrichment of exotic animal species in zoos is important for several reasons. Ideally it exercises the mind and body of the animal. These animals have to work hard to survive in the wild. Many animals have to graze, browse, hunt or forage for food for many hours every day. This often involves being physically active and mentally challenged for a large portion of their waking hours. We try to simulate this in captivity as often as possible.

  • If an animal is given a special feeder that requires tool use or manipulation in order to access the “treats,” this is more challenging, time consuming and rewarding than simply putting the treat in a food bowl.
  • If we freeze pineapples and cantaloupes for the bears, it keeps them busy as they gnaw and dig at them.
  • All the primates like bobbing for apples or other fruits.
  • Large rawhide bones keep the lions busy for long periods, while blood-sicles are fun for the tigers.
  • The otters get fresh oysters or clams to spur on their feeding instincts.
  • Many animals will work for food-rewards by doing trained behaviors that can assist with veterinary procedures.
  • Many animals, such as goats, apes, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, and bears, enjoy getting browse.  Browse consists of tree branches cut from non-toxic trees. Most animals eat the leaves, and some even eat the bark as well.
  • Paper mache piñatas are fun for the animals, whether or not “treats” are hidden inside.
  • For tree-dwelling species, such as orangutans, an ice treat (which is frozen kool-aid with nuts, fruit and berries inside) on top of their enclosure or skylight keeps them active and arboreal for hours.

There are other ways to provide enrichment that do not involve food. An overfed animal is not a healthy animal!

  • Scent enrichment is a great way to temporarily change an animal’s environment… the better the animal’s sense of smell, the more effective this is. Lemurs do a lot of scent marking in the wild, so they react to perfume sprayed on their trees. The wolves show a lot of interest in buck urine. The komodo dragon gets very active when vanilla extract is sprayed in her exhibit. When the lions receive a big pile of elephant feces in their enclosure, they will actually roll in it. In the wild they do this to mask their own scent, so prey species don’t smell a lion approaching (they smell an elephant!).
  • We “recycle” a lot of animal materials. The primates enjoy playing with colorful bird feathers and the feline species will hunt down patches of goat hair or snake sheds hidden in their exhibit. By changing an animal’s environment, they are stimulated to explore and use their senses. Simply turning on a sprinkler or playing tropical bird calls can be very enriching.
  • Another non-food type of enrichment is “toys”. This can vary widely; boomer balls and other sturdy plastic products come in all shapes and sizes. A new log can be loads of fun for the mangabeys or bears to debark and find insects. A milk crate can keep the orangutans busy for hours.we have observed them using milk crates as stools and hats; they will stuff their entire bodies in crates; and they have even hauled large quantities of mulch from outdoors to indoors using a milk crate. Grain bags are fun to rip up or use as an umbrella.
  • Finally, it is very enriching to change an animal’s perch, trees, or rope. The apes use their firehose hammocks and hanging barrels all the time, and many animals enjoy sunning or climbing on a hanging platform.

Every enrichment idea is first submitted as a written proposal, which is submitted for the approval of the animal management and veterinary staff to make sure that the item or idea is safe for the animals.

Aside from safety factors, animal enrichment ideas are only limited by a lack of imagination!

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Zookeeping Links

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Contact Us

American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc.
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road
Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80906  USA

Phone: 719-424-7833
Fax: 719-633-2254
E-mail: aazk@cmzoo.org