HERE’S a sneak peek at what animal enthusiasts can expect taking a walk on the wild side at Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder spending the day as a zookeeper.
One of the key tasks is to keep the animals on their toes, paws and claws with daily enrichment tricks. Black and white ruffed lemurs Lewy and Matilda are put through their paces by head keeper Gemma Varley.
Gemma “target trains” the pair with a touch ball.
She explained: “It’s great to be able to get the lemurs to learn the touch ball “target” to get a treat so that we can move them around voluntarily when we need to.
“They follow this target easily onto the scales for weighing them – as we do regularly to ensure good body weight – or to put them into their carrying cases if they need to be moved to see the vet. This makes things much easier for the keepers and less stressful for the animals.”
Keepers also store morsels of food in balls and enourage animals such as Ahan the white-faced Saki monkey and Emperor Tamarin Jerrie to play with them mimicking foraging techiniques in the wild.
The animals at the zoo get daily enrichment to enhance their well-being and keep their minds active. Part of the daily routine for Lost Kingdom Reptile House head keeper Chris Brown is chopping up food for the cockroaches and feeding the mission eye tree frogs and the yellow banded dart frog. With over 180 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, wannabe keepers will get the chance to roll up their sleeves and experience a busy day at the zoo.