Be careful what you wish for...
Published: Nov 17, 2015If you've ever visited the Zoo and noticed one of the animals playing with a bubble-filled pond or foraging to get food out of a hollow rubber toy, then you have seen environmental enrichment.
Environmental enrichment aims to encourage natural behaviours in zoo animals by providing them with a range of objects, scents or smells. It’s vitally important to make sure we are enhancing their quality of life and welfare. We know that animals enjoy enrichment being added to their habitats, and as keepers we have carefully designed schedules that are appropriate for each species to make sure we keep them as motivated as possible. This means adding enrichment on a daily basis to most of our animals, and as you can imagine, with 2,500 individual animals, providing enrichment can be a costly and difficult task. But this is where you can help.
As a conservation, research and education charity we rely on visitors and encourage them to get involved with our work – the Amazon Wish List is a great way to do this! The Wish List is an online list of items (hand-picked by keepers) that visitors can purchase. The list includes kongs and boomer balls, which are both great for loads of animals to play with, but you might be surprised at some of the other items on there…. Scented oils are a favourite of the big cats, for example, who love nothing more than following a scent trail laid by their keeper and then covering themselves in a lemongrass scented hessian sack.
Sprinklers and bubble machines are particularly enjoyed by many primate species (especially in warm weather) who chase and play amongst the jets of water or bubbles in the same sort of way people enjoying themselves would. A whole range of items to suit all budgets can be found by following the link below; even the smallest of gifts from the list really will make a massive difference to the animals.
So, whether you have a specific gift in mind for your favourite animals (perhaps to celebrate their birthdays or Christmas) or if you’d just like to make a meaningful contribution to the work of Paignton Zoo, why not take a look at the list? We’d love to involve you in looking after our animals and for them to be able to show you how much they enjoy enrichment!
Visit our Amazon Wish List here.
Mammal Keeper & Zoo Registrar