Kris Hern, Animal Training Manager.
I have worked at Twycross Zoo for 15 years where I spent the first 11 years working on the Great Ape section, with a particular focus on the chimpanzees. During my role as Deputy Section Head of Apes I saw the potential in using animal training to enhance the care of the animals at the zoo and so initiated a training programme for the chimpanzees. This soon led to me taking on a new role at Twycross as the Animal Training Manager. In this role I oversee training programmes for the majority of the animals in our care, and train all our keepers to use positive reinforcement techniques to train our animals. I lead the Twycross Zoo Behavioural Management Committee which is a forum for our keepers to discuss their training plans with each other, to share their successes and to get advice from each other. I also run the organising committee for Twycross Zoo’s very successful International Animal Training Conference series which brings together animal trainers working with various different species across the world to discuss and promote the latest successful techniques.
As part of the heart project specifically my role is to train the apes to voluntarily participate in the techniques that will help us to monitor them for heart disease. I am really looking forward to seeing what can be achieved through positive reinforcement.