Two members of the Houston Zoo team, Tarah Jacobs and Kevin Hodge, are currently in China. Tarah and Kevin are working with Chinese Zoos and blogging about their experience abroad.

This post was written by Kevin Hodge.

Our week in Hangzhou has ended. Over the course of the workshop we discussed training, enrichment and exhibit design. The Hangzhou Zoo is planning new exhibits and we were happy to lend our advice.  If there was an answer we didn’t know, the animal care staff back at Houston Zoo was happy to help us out.  Many Houston Zoo staff supplied us with information, pictures and answers to questions the keepers and managers at the participating zoos had. Even though it is just two of us, physically here, the whole staff back at the zoo is lending a hand to help out these zoos.


Raccoon dogs receiving enrichment for the first time ever

We assisted the participants with creating and implanting new training and enrichment ideas. The zoo keepers were excited to take this knowledge back to their zoos. They couldn’t wait to get back and make enrichment for their animals and email us the pictures!

The last day we had each group work on a project of designing a new exhibit and presenting the exhibit to the group. A few groups took advantage of the opportunity to get input from everyone on an exhibit they wanted to redesign in their zoo.

IMG_8468Overall the workshop was a great success. There were many new friendships formed and a new communication network was established. Most importantly everyone’s passion for providing the best animal care was reinvigorated and we plan on keeping in touch with everyone to continue to provide advice and support. We would like to thank the Hangzhou zoo for their amazing hospitality!  We have never eaten so much food in our lives!

Next stop Chengdu Zoo in South West China!

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