Since animals can’t talk, zoo veterinarians struggle to identify sources of illness in their charges before things get serious, and many basic screenings require risky and difficult anesthetization. Zoos Victoria has an interesting solution to getting its animals to comply with these necessary tasks – by training them to submit to routine tests, including species never previously reported to be so obliging.
For most zoos performing blood tests on their big cats is such an operation they do it only rarely. Giving a lion a general anesthetic is a risk to its health and requires a large team of keepers and vets, but few people are game to draw blood from an awake lion. However, Werribee Open Range Zoo has found it is quite easy to train lions and leopards to slip their tails through a gap in their enclosure for a reward, first by getting them to associate having