We just had the most wonderful animal presentation at The Springs Retirement Home in Missoula. We had a great line-up of Animal Ambassadors and a great audience too! It was so fun to share the animals' stories and what makes them unique and special with such remarkable people. After the show we got to hear some amazing stories from some of The Springs residents. Some of them have traveled extensively around the world and shared their animal stories with us. Some have seen many exotic animals in their native habitats and were eager to hear more about the Animal Ambassadors and how they had come to Animal Wonders. It was a pleasure being able to teach these delightful people a little more about the amazing planet in which we live. Thank you Springs residents! We hope to see you again with new animals faces and stories!
There comes a time on occasion when we find ourselves discussing the situation of a certain animal resident or two. We are constantly evaluating all of our animals' well-being and making improvements when necessary. This time the discussion was about Popeye and Percy, the pacific parrotlets. They were very healthy, getting a good diet. They had a good enclosure with plenty of toys that they loved to play with. And they had each others company for companionship and stimulation. The only issue was that they were not going to many presentations and their human interaction was increasingly limited. We came to a decision that Popeye and Percy would be better suited to a life in a new home where they would get more human interaction. We took interviews and had long discussions found the perfect home with a private owner that will thoroughly enjoy Popeye and Percy for the tremendous amount of intrigue these two little boys have to give. So we say good-bye to two wonderful Animal Ambassadors but know that they are going to a wonderful place.
Take care Popeye and Percy!
Yesterday we woke to find our guard llamas had been attacked by a predator. They were set up to protect us from the many coyotes in the area and keep away stray dogs and even wolves. Today we had a tracker investigate and he confirmed that the attacker was 2 mountain lions; an adult and a younger one. We are very sad that our beautiful llamas have moved onto greener pastures and are discussing what we will do next. We believe in finding a way to live with nature and wildlife instead of killing any wildlife that interferes with us or our animals. We will find a way to keep us and our animals safe as well as the wildlife in our area as well, it just might take some time to figure out how.
We are constantly trying to think of new behaviors to train the residents at Animal Wonders. It's not only good for stimulating their minds and spending quality one-on-one time with them, it's also a lot of fun for us! This week I have been spending more time working with Cheeks the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit. He has been slightly skiddish and I wanted to reaffirm his comfort around us two legs. He is a snuggle-bug in small spaces and when held, but in a large open area he tends to want to explore rather than hang out with me. So I offered him a treat at one point as he was passing and he stopped and investigated. He thoroughly enjoyed his snack and was eager to get more. I waited until he took a few steps toward me and offered him another treat. Over the next few days I worked on a "target" behavior with him. I hold my hand in a fist near the ground and get his attention. He sees my fist and comes hopping over just as fast as he can. He has now taken to following me around and if I stand still for a long while he will hop circles around my feet.
It never fails to amaze me how effective positive reinforcement training is. It puts a smile on my face every time I am able to form a communication with an animal. Whether they let me know they want something and I feel good about giving it to them. Or whether I let them know I want something and they do it and I reinforce it with something positive. The communication goes both ways and it's a wonderful thing to be a part of. Thank you Cheeks for reinforcing my interest in animal behavior. I am also a student of positive reinforcement.