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.

1ofthe5

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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Barrels of fun

Behind the Scenes, Carnivores, Uncategorized

Everyday the animals at wildlife Safari get something exciting that we call ‘enrichment’. This could be a toy, an exciting snack or an interesting smell, whatever will pique their interest so they can explore something new and fun each day. For our Sumatran Tiger girls, there’s nothing quite as exciting as their barrels! That’s right, their toy of choice is a large blue plastic barrel.

Sumatran tiger, Riya, investigates her dinner on her favorite barrel - photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

Sumatran tiger, Riya, investigates her dinner on her favorite barrel – photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

Large enough that the Tigers can’t crush them and hurt themselves, and strong enough to withstand the attention of two 200lb Tigers, these things make for hours of fun!

Barrel play time! - Photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

Barrel play time! – Photo courtesy of Taylor Sherrow

The girls love to bat them around, whack them, jump on them… No matter what else is happening, if they see a barrel, they have to investigate before they do anything else.