Known the world over for innovative and inspirational animal presentations, Natural Encounters, Inc. has provided its services to a variety of facilities around the world. While each of these sites provides a different set of challenges, one constant flows through all of them — our show philosophy and commitment to conservation.
Natural Encounters, Inc. is committed to connecting humans to the natural world. Our shows, therefore, revolve around the natural behavior of birds. You will not see parrots riding bicycles in a Natural Encounters, Inc. bird show. Rather we strive to introduce audiences to free-flight and natural bird behavior, which most people find more interesting and entertaining than birds acting like people. Our goal is to inspire caring and conservation action.
The entertainment of birds “doing what they do best” is the vehicle for a conservation message that is the underlying theme of every show.
We use only positive reinforcement training techniques. This type of training yields the highest level of performance from the birds, which are active participants in the training process. As a result, Natural Encounters, Inc. is able to produce shows virtually anywhere and incorporate structures and topography of the site into the show.
Engage, Inspire, Empower!
Some people hear the words “animal show,” and they think of parrots on bicycles and cigarette-smoking chimpanzees. Some say it is demeaning and unkind to force animals to perform unnatural behavior for entertainment. We completely agree. The shows we produce are guided by our commitment to education and positive interactions with animals.
Education is a very important aspect of conservation. Over six hundred million people visit zoos and aquariums each year. How many millions of them leave without learning anything about the animals they have just viewed? Interpretive programs involving live animals may just be the best, possibly the only, educational message most guests receive while on their visit.
Information does not equal education. Interpretive programs should encompass more than reciting natural history facts and figures. Rather than imparting knowledge, our goals are to adjust attitudes and “Engage, Inspire, and Empower” our audiences toward specific conservation goals.
A close encounter with a live animal demonstrating species-appropriate behavior can leave a lasting impression in the minds of zoo visitors. This experience can be far more powerful than any book, television show, teacher, or graphic. Formal educational animal shows achieve this goal at the highest level; however, we have also realized great value in training exhibit animals to perform natural behaviors on cue.
Not only is this type of training very enriching to the animal, it is exciting and educational for the visitor as well. There is no limit to what exhibit animals can learn. Even fish can be trained to demonstrate natural behaviors in your aquarium. When the exhibit achieves “show” status, its attractive value increases immensely. The future of zoos may very likely involve exhibits where animals are naturally motivated to demonstrate species-appropriate behavior in exciting and educational public presentations. Interpretive program services include:
- Production and presentation of turnkey shows
- Staff and animal training for in-house shows
- Development of scripts/narrations/presentations
- Evaluation and improvement of current shows
- Evaluation and improvement of education programs
- Animal handling and training for educators
Exhibit Design Assistance
Even the most naturalistic zoological environments can be relatively static and unresponsive to the behavior of the animals that inhabit them. By partnering with zoo staff and architects we help create exhibits that address animal husbandry and management goals and encourage animals to perform species-appropriate behavior which leads to enhanced viewer experience. We view each exhibit as a stage where we can facilitate the performance of an animal’s most unique and incredible natural abilities for all to see. Our exhibit design services include:
- Assisting Zoo staff and Architectural teams with exhibit design
- Animal exhibit planning
- Animal management plans
- Behavior and enrichment opportunities
- Interpretive opportunities
We want to help your facility reach its ultimate potential in entertaining environmental outreach. Contact us for more information on how to get started!