Carnivore Enrichment

Carnivores, Community, Uncategorized

To enrich means “to improve or enhance the quality or value of.” Therefore, at Wildlife Safari and similar facilities, enrichment can be defined as anything that enhances the daily lives of the animals living there. Enrichment comes in many forms: it can be a special treat, something different from an animal’s usual diet, or it can be a toy, a scent, a sound, or something for visual use. It all depends on the general interests of the targeted species and particular individuals of that species.

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One of our year old cheetah cubs enjoys foraging for meat chunks hidden inside a paper mache’ toy for their birthday.

Food-based Enrichment

           Our carnivores often receive special treats as enrichment. The bears receive fruit, biscuits, nuts, and other treats throughout each day except for the months when they are in hibernation and the weeks leading up to hibernation. Sometimes, we make them popsicles using crushed berries and water. Our big cats occasionally enjoy bloodsicles as something different and refreshing, especially on a hot day.

Claire

Claire, one of our Alaskan brown bears, chilling out with a berry popsicle.

Toys

             Large, heavy-duty plastic barrels and balls are a popular toy for our carnivores. They also enjoy logs and boxes, both of which can be used to hide treats in or be sprayed with scents. Our big cats especially love the smell of strong perfume or cologne; they will rub themselves all over something that has been sprayed with a scent! Our 2 year old lion “cubs” have a large rope that is used for tug-of-war sessions against keepers and interns. As soon as it is ready for them, they playfully run over and get to work, using their teeth and paws to tug on it! Shredded paper is also a favorite of our big cats. It is fun to watch them roll around in, though less fun to clean up.

blackbears

Large blue barrels like this one are often used to increase foraging time for our black bears. We like to hide some of their food inside them!

Natural Enrichment

       Our brown bears have access to built-in ponds in their outdoor enclosures, simulating nature. You can even catch Mak and Oso, our Grizzly bear boys, wrestling in the water when it’s hot outside! In October, we like to give pumpkins to bite, scratch, and play with. Our lions, tigers, and cheetahs enjoy receiving giraffe sand taken from the giraffe barn. It may sound gross to humans, but just like a nice perfume, they like to rub themselves all over the stuff; it is like catnip to them!

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Carnivore Foot Care

Behind the Scenes, Carnivores, Cheetahs, Uncategorized

The most important part of a Keeper’s job is making sure the animals are happy and healthy. One of the things we look for every day is the health of their feet!

Everyday, the carnivore Keepers at Wildlife Safari will get a good look at paws to make sure everyone has beautiful feet.

We look for any peeling, abrasions or cuts and if we need to we can disinfect them. We do this through their training – if they show us their paws in exchange for a treat its a very low stress check up!

 

One of our female lions showing her “sit up” behaviour

While we check this through the fence with our larger carnivores such as lions, tigers and bears, we can get much more hands on with our ambassador cheetahs. These guys will hand keepers their paw so we can not only visually check, but also feel for anything sore or tender.

Khayam the cheetah gives his keeper his paw during a training session

Keepers will also regularly put moisturizing oil on the floor of the huts where the animals sleep at night. As they walk through, this oil helps paw pads stay supple and healthy.

If keepers notice anyone with dry paw pads, they will increase how often this moisturizing oil is used. This helps our animals’ feet to stay healthy in all weather!

 

                                      

Welcome to the Wildlife Safari Blog!

Uncategorized

Achimba

Wildlife Safari is home to over 500 animals, not to mention the keepers! One of the top cheetah breeding facilities in the world, we are known mostly for our conservation efforts for these spotted speeders. However, Wildlife Safari also supports conservation of many other species. We recently had our first lion cubs born in 23 years, and now have six cubs in our pride. Here, you’ll be learning more about our variety of animals, and you’ll be getting updates on their lives and behavior.

Two of our 6 lion cubs - Arnold and Sharptooth

Two of our 6 lion cubs – Arnold and Sharptooth

Our animals help people to appreciate the other species we share our world with. They make conservation personal – people see them and realize they are amazing creatures that may not be around for very long if we don’t act to protect them.

Conservation is at the heart of Wildlife Safari’s mission, and we seek to educate our community on conservation issues by going out to schools and community centers with our ambassador animals. Caring about conservation at large goes hand in hand with love for each and every animal that lives at the park. Our keepers have a bond with the animals they care for and you can see their passion in how they interact with the animals; how carefully they prepare food for each one (some are particularly picky); and how hard they work to keep enclosures clean and the animals healthy and happy. Every keeper is here for the love of it and we’ll be hearing from some of them about their experiences and daily life at the park in weeks to come.

Mtai, our female lion being trained by one of our carnivore keepers Photo courtesy of Melissa Fox

Mtai, our female lion being trained by one of our carnivore keepers
Photo courtesy of Melissa Fox

We look forward to sharing the goings on of Wildlife Safari with you and hope you get to know and love our animals as much as we do!