Argentinean Ecoparque tries to change paradigms with the help of “animal trainers”

“Today, zoos tend to be ecoparques, it is no longer an exhibition of animals and ready,” said the coordinator of the “animal trainers.”

The personal trainers do not act only in gyms; in Argentina they are also in zoos, working to keep the animals in good condition and helping in the transfer of the animals to other spaces, a vital work for the creation of the Ecoparque of Buenos Aires.

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Currently, about 100 instructors are supervised in the animal behavior sector of Ecoparque – one of the most popular in Argentina – by María Eugenia Dahdah. According to the coordinator, “animal trainers” are fundamental for animals to become accustomed to the presence of veterinarians, what they are going to eat and the spaces they will occupy in the “paradigm” change that is being experienced by one who, with more than 100 years of history, is the oldest zoo in the city.

Since 2016, these 16.7 hectares are being rebuilt to fit the animal life and transmit to the visitors the new message: the main one is animal conservation, so, the show ended.

“Today, zoos tend to be ecoparques, it is no longer an exhibition of animals and ready,” clarified Maria Eugenia.

This work, which in her opinion is “what the public knows least,” will allow offering environments ideal to the size that each species needs, with the appropriate stimuli and where they can develop all the behaviors they would have in life in the forest. Once this mission is in place, the management of the place wants to re-educate the public about the animals and continue with the work of genebank.

The behavioral area has a team of veterinarians, biologists, and environmental science technicians to coordinate the activities that caregivers do every day.

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“When we know that an animal will be transferred, whether in or out of the park, we talk to the caretakers and from there we begin to see which infrastructure we have to build and what elements are needed,” said Maria Eugenia.

Some activities include getting them to get on the scale, trust the caregivers and get in the box for transportation.

The former zoo of Buenos Aires acts specifically as ” place of passage ” and rescue of animals that belonged to private collectors. According to the coordinator, the problems of animal trafficking and the practice of transforming wild animals into pet animals that persists in Argentina are “very serious”, which means that afterward many cannot be reinserted in the woods and have to stay in Ecoparque.

For María Eugenia, education is the key to changing people’s perception of animal care and the role of zoos and eco parks.

“If we are a place that will receive animals, we will do the rehabilitation, release them and do a follow-up work so that this does not continue to happen,” he said.

Ecoparque has gone through “a very significant change” and has already transferred 370 animals to shrines and other centers around the world. The expectation is that of the almost 1,000 animals that the space shelters today only remain 200 until the year 2023, date of total opening.

The species that will remain will be autochthonous (so that people know the regional fauna ), rescued from the traffic or wounds and those that could not be returned to the environment due to health issues.

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