Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


37th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2011

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #326
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Applied Behavior Analysis in the Zoological Environment
Monday, May 30, 2011
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Korbel Ballroom 2A (Convention Center)
Area: AAB/PRA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
PSY/BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Kenneth Ramirez, Other
Chair: Christy A. Alligood (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
Presenting Authors: : KENNETH T. RAMIREZ (John G. Shedd Aquarium)

In the last several decades the use of applied behavior principles has grown in importance and sophistication in the zoo and aquarium world. The modern zoological facility often employs a curator level position to oversee behavior management and enrichment programs. Although the basic principles and theories used in zoos and aquariums are not new to the community of behavior analysts, the practical applications and techniques are just emerging and becoming more commonplace in the zoological world. Early application of training principles was primarily used in shows and educational programming. Skilled practitioners of applied behavior principles have also been instrumental in improving animal health care through training exotic animals to assist in their own medical treatment. Perhaps most notable is the increased used of operant and classical conditioning principles in improving the effectiveness of enrichment practices, expanding research capabilities, and advancing wildlife conservation programs. These examples will be used to highlight the growing role of applied behavior analysis in providing excellent animal care.

KENNETH T. RAMIREZ (John G. Shedd Aquarium)
Ken Ramirez is the executive vice-president of animal collections and animal training, develops and supervises animal care programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for the entire animal collection at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. A 30+ year veteran of animal care and training, Ken is a biologist and animal behaviorist who has worked both as a behavioral curator and as a consultant to many zoo and aquarium programs throughout the world. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career. He hosted two successful seasons of the pet training television series Talk to the Animals that compared pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities. He has also recently worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations, service dog groups, as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs.



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