Tiger catches pumpkin prey
Published: 13th Oct 2017The Zoo's tigers get some fun - and some exercise - out of carved pumpkins.
The tigers at Paignton Zoo have got their teeth - and claws - into some carved pumpkins. The three Sumatran tigers - male Fabi, aged 10, female Shakira, 15, and cub Lucu, born in May 2016, wasted no time in destroying the decorated vegetables - some grown by the Zoo's own gardeners - to get to the meat hidden inside.
Using the pumpkins is a seasonal example of what animal experts call environmental enrichment. The subject aims to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours, stimulate mental and physical activity and provoke curiosity using unusual objects and situations. It's like giving your pet a new toy to play with, but with added science and data collection. Keepers make use of anything from puzzle feeders and wind chimes to unusual scents and giant plastic balls. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has won awards for its enrichment work and hosted regional and international conferences on the subject.
Sumatran tigers are Critically Endangered, with just 300 thought to remain in the wild.