Behavioral Enrichment- throughout the day
Included with daily admission
Big Bear Alpine Zoo’s Enrichment Philosophy
The natural behaviors of our animals will direct our behavioral enrichment and will assist our keepers in the determination of enrichment activities based solely on the behaviors they wish to elicit.
Enrichment can be defined as: as a dynamic process for enhancing animal environments within the context of the animals’ behavioral biology and natural history. Environmental changes are made with the goal of increasing the animal’s behavioral choices and drawing out their species-appropriate behaviors, thus enhancing animal welfare.
Types of enrichment:
Enrichment is provided in a variety of ways, such as:
Exhibit design: provides a variety of substrates, levels, and complexities.
Training: interaction with the keeper and proper training allows an animal to choose to participate. This is also useful in gaining the animal’s trust and allows the keeper close, visual observations of that animal.
Olfactory: a keeper can introduce natural predator or prey scents, in addition to novel smells or pheromone scents.
Auditory: taped sounds or vocalizations can simulate things that an animal may hear in the wild.
Food related: this is the most widely used form of enrichment. Keepers can present food in a variety of ways such as in a simple puzzle feeder, hidden throughout the enclosure, scattered about the enclosure, or buried in a substrate. To get the food, the animal must use natural foraging behaviors and/or mentally solve the puzzle.
Novel objects: various items placed in an animal’s enclosure allow the animal to mimic behaviors exhibited in the wild or could challenge them. These items could include burlap bags, sheets, boomer balls, chew toys, or a hammock. Often, novel objects will be combined with food related enrichment. For example, burlap bags may be filled with hay and treats and tied closed. The animal would then have to get into the bag and sort through the hay to get to the treats.
Research: Participation in a research projects offers mental stimulation. (i.e., foraging skills research with giant pandas, cognitive research with orangutans)