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Colchester Zoo are coming to share their tips on how to train bears to have ultrasounds or get an elephant ready for artificial insemination! They’ll also bring cute animal footage. Finally, we’ll delve into the biomechanics of haemoglobin, and how evolution has fine-tuned this molecular machine to fulfil different roles across the animal kingdom.
How to Do the Undoable: Animal Training in Zoos
Andy Moore (Learning Manager at Colchester Zoo)
Colchester Zoo has a well-established training programme to aid in animal health management in a number of species, from elephants to stingrays. The animals can be trained to weigh themselves, expect injections or show their teeth for dental checks. But how do you get a bear to have an ultrasound whilst awake or check the heartbeat of a fully conscious leopard? This talk looks at how training is done at the Zoo and how it benefits our animals.
Pint of Semen: Breeding Programmes in Zoos
Lee McAlpin (Education Officer at Colchester Zoo)
Colchester Zoo is part of 67 international breeding programmes and most of the time the animals breed naturally. However, sometimes natural breeding doesn’t happen for several reasons. It could be that there isn’t a suitable mate nearby or they simply don’t like each other, on these occasions science can step in to help. But when you have a 5 tonne male elephant you need more than a posh dinner. This talk looks at what breeding programmes are and how artificial insemination is done in zoos.
It’s all in the Blood: the Fascinating Story of Haemoglobin
Professor Michael Wilson (Emeritus Professor)
Haemoglobin (Hb) is the red coloured protein in your blood that transports oxygen to every cell of your body. How this works is quite complex and in the talk we shall see that Hb is a nano-machine with moving parts and sophisticated control systems that ensure that oxygen is delivered preferentially to the tissues most in need of it. They also ensure that oxygen flows from the mother to the baby in the womb and that heat flows from baby to mother and that you can adapt to high altitudes.