Education Grant – Maddie Court

The Charity’s education grants are not just for those who wish to consider a full or part time college course, funding is also available for experienced keepers to attend relevant short courses and workshops. Maddie was successfully awarded one of our grants earlier this year. Check out her report below to see just how beneficial our grants are for both keepers and the primates in their care.

Maddie says “I applied to the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund for an Educational Grant to attend the Great Ape Welfare Groups’ Great Ape Keeper Workshop in March 2022 at Twycross Zoo. As an experienced member of primate care staff working with the chimpanzees at Monkey World, I saw this workshop as an exciting opportunity to learn about the work of other zoos in the UK and abroad, refresh my knowledge on the latest new training techniques and network with other great ape keepers, all in the name of improving the health, welfare and lives of the primates in our care.

There was a wide variety of topics covered during the two-day workshop. The main topics were; Welfare Auditing and Assessment; Body Condition Scoring; Enclosure Design, Gorilla Blood Pressure Training; Improving Health and Welfare through Training; along with Open Wound Management and Compassionate Fatigue..

Of these topics, it was the body condition scoring and blood pressure training I was most excited to learn about. Body condition scoring is an essential healthcare tool that we would like to integrate more into our regular health checks of the chimpanzees at Monkey World. Body condition scoring can be subjective and therefore quite inaccurate, but this lecture showed us how to use the scores to produce accurate and reliable results. Training our chimps for voluntary blood pressure monitoring, as well as other more invasive procedures like ECG’s and blood draws, would also be a fantastic care tool, giving us detailed information about our chimps’ health without the need for anaesthetic and the risks that come with it. This lecture provided some great information to help build a shaping plan to teach our chimps the behaviours they need so that primate care staff can carry out these procedures safely and effectively.

Overall, the experience was really useful and exciting for me, it was great to get out in the world and hear what other collections are up to. I learnt a lot of useful information which I have shared with the chimpanzee team and other primate care staff at Monkey World. I believe what I have learnt about accurate body condition scoring, and training apes for ECG’s and blood pressure monitoring could really improve the lives of the chimpanzees at Monkey World. I look forward to more opportunities like this in the future, and thank the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund for this grant, it has been an invaluable experience.”