Demand for training in how we manage our crocs has been growing over the past few years. With 4 zoos in the UK expressing specific interest, we organised and ran our first Crocodilian Husbandry Course just for those collections, which included staff from London Zoo, Blue Planet Aquarium, Berkshire College of Agriculture, and Reaseheath College.
This one-day course which was held in October covered the fundamentals of housing and maintaining the various croc species, along with the technicalities of heating, lighting, filtration and approaches to nutrition and the prevention of diseases.
We also ran short practical sessions on handling and restraining smaller crocs, and how we approach training crocodilians.
The eight participants also received a certificate and a 50 page document of course notes.
Feedback from the course has been really positive, with some good suggestions for tweaks here and there, and so we’re planning to roll out a few more courses this year. These will be more comprehensive than the tailored course in October: they’ll be aimed at the keepers, curators and directors responsible for managing the crocodilians in their collections (and those planning to add crocs to their collections), and will be run over two-days. We are aiming also to have these courses accredited with BIAZA – the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Colin Stevenson, Head of Education said: “We’re really proud to have gotten this together, and to have successfully run the first training course for the UKs zoos specifically on crocs!”