©WCS, JL Mehr
It took four months of training, but Felix the mountain lion (a.k.a. puma), has become a star patient by any vet standards. In fact, his cool demeanor would impress a number of doctors to squeamish human patients, too. The Queens Zoo's two-and-a-half-year-old, 140-pound frisky male puma now voluntarily tolerates the prick of a needle without requiring any anesthesia. As part of routine veterinary procedures at the WCS zoos and aquarium, our animal doctors draw blood to ensure the animals are in good health. Felix's adjustment process was part of an extensive training program at the Queens Zoo.
The training achievement came after months of work by Senior Keeper Marcos Garcia and Principal Keeper David Morales. The keepers worked with Felix five times a week, slowly conditioning the cat to the blood collection procedure. Eventually, he was trained to lie down in the presence of WCS veterinary staff, allow keepers to position his tail, and remain still while blood was collected from his tail with a small needle. All the while, he was rewarded with special food treats from the keepers. This behavioral conditioning will be useful in encouraging Felix to allow important veterinary procedures when they are necessary, with little stress.
Posted by: Kelly Source