Friday, February 13, 2009

Giraffe Enrichment

One of the best parts of a zoo keeper's day is being able to enrich the animals you work with. Enrichment provides mental stimulation and can also stimulate natural behaviors. With the giraffe herd at Como Zoo, we wanted to encourage them to forage more. The giraffe get alfalfa every day in mangers that are hung on the wall. Typically it takes only a couple hours for them to eat all their alfalfa. Zoo keepers came up with an idea for a puzzle feeder where there are only small openings for the giraffes to get at the alfalfa, which we figured would increase foraging time. With the help of City Trades staff, a puzzle box was created. It was made out of clear material to allow the public to see the giraffe working their tongues around inside to get all the treats and alfalfa out. Yesterday was the first day we tried it and it was a success! Mom Daisy and baby were both seen using their tongues to extract the treats inside.

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