To train any animal, you need their trust! A blood draw can be one of the most challenging behaviors – especially for a 478-pound bear – and one that has taken keeper Haley and black bear Benton nearly two months to achieve. When animals participate in their own healthcare, everyone wins!
Watch as carnivore keeper Haley patiently works with 15-year-old Benton behind the scenes on blood draw training with a blunt syringe as a training device. Benton carefully presents his massive paw through a bear paw-sized opening in the training space as Haley coaches him and then uses tasty honey water as positive reinforcement. This amazing behavior takes a ton of dedication, teamwork, and a lot of trust. Great work, Haley and Benton! Learn more about our black bears Benton and Fern.