Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BMZA 232
Course Title:
Zoo Animal Behavior Management
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Promotes the use of environmental enrichment, operant conditioning and training, and other behavioral management techniques to enhance the physical and psychological well-being of captive animals and to effectively carry out the missions of the facility. Department permission required. Prerequisites: BMZA 231. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Use environment enrichment and other related techniques to enhance the physical and psychological well-being of captive animals.
  • Use training and operant conditioning techniques to enhance the well being of animals in captivity (eg. Veterinary care) and effectively carry out the mission of the facility (safe animal care, education, research, etc).
  • Develop training plans and accurate record keeping for animal behavior.

Course Activities and Design

The format for this course is a combination of lecture, demonstration, and laboratory experience to provide necessary skills in animal behavior management techniques.   Laboratory instruction will be based at the Rock Creek campus and include field trips to animal care facilities.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Class and lab attendance and participation.
  • Complete homework assignments and projects.
  • Complete all scheduled quizzes, mid-term exam, and final exam.
  • Demonstrate competence in applying operant conditioning techniques through final training assessment by instructor.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills

  • History and background of operant conditioning and other training techniques
  • Development of behavior training plans and behavior maintenance techniques
  • Overview of S.P.I.D.E.R. enrichment process, including goal-setting, developing, and implementing original environmental enrichment concepts
  • Husbandry training and medical behaviors
  • Training for public shows and interactive programs
  • Behavioral management of social animals
  • Behavioral management of stereotypy
  • Management of aggressive behaviors directed at other animals and keepers

Process Skills

  • Development and use of training plans
  • Proper handling of lab animals and farm animals
  • Use of operant and other conditioning techniques to manage animal behavior
  • Utilizing S.P.I.D.E.R. enrichment planning process, including building environmental enrichment devices made of various materials
  • Recognizing animal behavior relevant to animal management, including signs of stress, well-being, motivation, and aggression