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Experts from across the US, UK come to Waco for cardiac-health workshop at Cameron Park Zoo

WACO, TX (KXXV) -

Forty-five Great Ape experts from across the U.S. and U.K. traveled to Waco to lead discussions and demonstrations at the Cameron Park Zoo's third-annual Great Ape Cardiac-Health workshop held on April 10 and 11.

The goal of the workshop is to discuss productive training methods, standardize record keeping, and offer trainers an opportunity to learn various aspects of cardio health.

The workshop focuses on voluntary awake blood draws, arm and finger blood pressure methods and details of echocardiograms, offering hands-on training to the workshop attendees.

The Cameron Park Zoo was one of the first two zoos in the United States to succeed in training male orangutans to provide consistent voluntary blood pressure readings using a tuff cuff device. It is also the only zoo that has all the adult orangutans in their care participating in a voluntary finger and tough cuff blood pressure measurements, voluntary blood draws and voluntary heart ultrasounds.

The Zoo Atlanta has worked with Cameron Park Zoo to standardize training protocols for voluntary blood pressure readings for orangutans, which prompted the first cardiac-health workshop hosted by the Cameron Park Zoo in 2015.

For the third annual workshop, the Cameron Park Zoo partnered with the Great Ape Heart Project to expand the workshop to include all the species: orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas.

Presenters for this year's workshop are as follows:

  • Emily Ellison, primate keeper at Cameron Park Zoo
  • Laura Klutts, primate keeper at Cameron Park Zoo
  • Dr. James Kusmierczyk, CPZ veterinarian
  • Dr. Hayley Murphy, director of Great Ape Heart Project based out of Zoo Atlanta
  • Donna Bullard, cardiac ultrasound technician and RN at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Hospital

Each attendee will also receive hands-on cardiac ultrasound traning. 

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