Course Content and Outcome Guide for BMZA 232

Course Number:
BMZA 232
Course Title:
Zoo Animal Behavior Mgmt
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. Prerequisite: BMZA 231. Department permission required. 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 zoological facilities.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in and contribute to all class and team discussions and activities.
  • Complete homework assignments and projects
  • Complete all scheduled examinations and quizzes
  • Demonstrate competence in locating and applying scientific papers on behavioral management.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • History and research in applied animal behavior
  • Provide opportunities for animals to demonstrate natural behaviors and enhance their physical and psychological well-being.
  • Development of behavior training plans
  • Apply knowledge so animals will allow routine physical examinations and minor veterinary procedures.


  • Methods for developing a training plan and implementing managed animal behavior
  • Normal and abnormal social, reproductive and interactive behaviors exhibited in captivity


  • Natural and atypical behaviors exhibited in zoo animals.
  • Indicators of well being
  • Aggressive behaviors directed at other animals and keepers
  • Explaining behaviors to zoo visitors


  • Development of training plan
  • Use of operant and other conditioning techniques to manage animal behavior
  • Development of environmental enrichment strategies
  • Careful observation and accurate recording of data
  • Interpretation and application of scientific literature to behavior management