BUENOS AIRES – Personal trainers not only work in gymnasiums – they’re also on duty at zoos where they keep the animals in good condition and ease their move to new environments that give the wild creatures a new sense of freedom, a vital aspect in the renovation of the Buenos Aires Ecopark.
Close to 100 trainers are supervised by the Animal Behavior Sector, which in the case of Ecopark – one of the most popular zoos in the country – is coordinated by Maria Eugenia Dahdah.
In an interview with EFE, the Argentine specialist said it’s essential to get the animals used to the presence of veterinarians, to the food they are given and to their enclosures as part of the new mission of this zoo with its 100-year history.
Since 2016, this zoo spanning 16.7 hectares (41 acres) has been reconstructing much of its area and restoring historic monuments on its grounds to make it more suitable for animal life and send its visitors a new message: first comes animal preservation, and consequently, no more circus acts.
“Zoos now aim to become ecoparks – they’re no longer simply animal exhibits” but rather focus on “covering all the animals’ needs,” Dahdah said.
This work, which she believes is “what the public has the least idea about,” will allow zoos to offer favorable environments with the amount of room each species needs and with the right stimuli to show the full range of their behavior when living in the wild.
Once established that mission, Ecopark seeks to educate the public about the animals in the enclosure and continue with its function as a genetic bank.
The Buenos Aires Ecopark has a team made up of veterinarians, biologists and technicians in environmental sciences who coordinate the training of animals and the improvement of their surroundings on a daily basis.