The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) operates the Brookfield Zoo to provide an engaging animal experience for over two million guests on an annual basis. One of the most important objectives of the Brookfield Zoo is to maintain the highest level of well-being and care for over two thousand animals currently residing there. Such a massive animal care operation requires innovative animal care programs and processes to ensure a high quality of life for the animals as well as a stimulating guest experience. Brookfield Zoo implements an Animal Enrichment program in which animal care specialists provide a wide range of diverse activities on a daily basis to enrich the animals’ environment.
Animal Enrichment data was previously collected through a paper form process, lending itself to data entry errors and delayed data analysis. Brookfield Zoo recognized the need to capture this data electronically to improve data quality and assist animal care specialists through machine learning analysis of provided enrichment activity.
CZS contracted Clarity Partners, LLC to design and implement an animal enrichment management system to supplement the zoo’s current Animal Enrichment programs. The core piece of this integrated system is a mobile application running on iPad and iPod touch. Brookfield Zoo animal care specialists are now able to use this mobile application to collect information on enrichment activity they provide to the animals, in replacement of paper forms. The mobile application communicates with a Clarity developed RESTful Web API and database installed on premise at Brookfield Zoo.
Additionally, the integrated system includes an administrator web application that allows the appropriate zoo personnel to manage enrichment inventory data, authorize appropriate zoo personnel and review currently collected enrichment data. To phase in the new system, the zoo operated a production pilot program for use with dolphins, servals and giraffes. Another key requirement of this system is the need to integrate with Brookfield Zoo’s existing security infrastructure for user identity and authorization. After the data collection phase of the project, the next phase includes the application of machine learning algorithms to the collected enrichment activity data to provide animal care specialists with recommended enrichment activity for continued animal well-being.
- Custom mobile hybrid application development with Apache Cordova + Ionic Framework
- Custom RESTful Web API and Web application development with ASP.NET MVC (C#)
- Expertise in iOS testing and release management using Apple iTunes Test Flight
- Database design and implementation for Microsoft SQL Server
- Numerical and machine learning analysis and implementation
Impoved Animal Well-being
The animal enrichment management system provides Brookfield Zoo animal care specialists with an electronic record of the enrichment activity they provide for the animals. The system provides access to this information which aids the animal care specialists in making future enrichment activity for the animals. The primary goal and benefit is more diversified enrichment for the animals, resulting in improved animal well-being. This improvement in animal care enhances the Brookfield Zoo guest experience with increased animal activity and behavior during exhibition.