Trunkline Magazine (Louisville Zoo) March 2019 - Page 9

blood pressure. Unlike today, smaller primates in the 80s did not participate in regular training to actively par- ticipate in preventative healthcare. With Silvia’s help and expertise in training using operant conditioning (as well as yummy grapes and a handy whistle), the Hand-raised infant woolly monkey. woollies learned to present their tail (and later their arm) for — it wasn’t always Silvia to apply a blood an easy task. Silvia pressure cuff. In fact, Silvia was one recalls a giraffe named of the first zoo keepers to measure Silvester that was born resting blood pressure from a non- on her birthday to human primate! What an incred- Malaika, but Malaika ible achievement and significant wasn’t interested in mothering him. innovation in primate care. Keepers "He refused to take a bottle and and vets in AZA-accredited Zoos wouldn’t let any of us touch him.” in North America now commonly Anxious for the future of this stub- utilize this technique to test blood pressure of primates. Silvia gets calls born giraffe calf, Silvia did the only thing she could think of: “I was des- occasionally from facilities across perate. I set up a step ladder that the world asking for her advice on night and climbed to the top of the their woolly monkey issues — most recently from a rehabilitation facility ladder and just sat there with him for hours talking to him and hoping in South America. he would get comfortable with me. Silvia says some of her most Finally, after a long time, he came treasured moments come from over and let me touch him. Then, the many animals she hand-raised he took a bottle from me. I came over the years. “It’s so rewarding to find out later that he preferred to watch them grow up!” she said. But like most rewarding experiences drinking milk from a bucket — and Silvia taking a woolly monkey's blood pressure so that’s what he did from then on mostly.” Nowadays, Silvia is still doing what she does best — taking care of animals in the Africa zone like the giraffes and retired woolly mon- key boys Henry and Tomas. The two boys were retired in 2016 after the decision of the AZA Primate Taxon Advisory Group to phase woolly monkeys out of North American zoo collections where it was not possible to maintain a sustainable population of woolly monkeys; it also allowed European Zoos to lead the focus on helping the species outside of South America. The group also determined it was in our monkeys’ best interest to let them remain together in Louisville with their expert caretaker, Silvia. The woollies enjoy both indoor and out- door spaces where they can climb, munch and explore while receiv- ing specialized attention. You can sometimes catch glimpses of the two boys from the train as it travels behind their outdoor exhibit next to the giraffe house. If you see Silvia, be sure to wave and thank her for her dedication. (Left) Marcelle Gianelloni and Silvia hand feed a young woolly monkey. Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Spring 2019 • 9