The Montgomery Zoo is hosting its Animal Enrichment Day Saturday, February 20th, where you can tour the zoo and watch how animals respond to different stimulants.
Animal Enrichment day is a day full special items, scents, and many other things that provide the animals with both mental and physical exercise. A chance to smell, taste something new, or solve a hard puzzle aids in the zoo animals’ well-being and health.
“It’s a chance to show people what change, and how important change is, in a captive environment like the zoo,” says Animal Care Manager Ken Naugher.
Enrichment keeps the animals active and engaged while reproducing natural behaviors. The goal is to safely stimulate natural behaviors found in the wild for each species. It’s a lot of trial and error but, it’s always fun says Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum.
The Zoo consults with national animal enrichment databases developed by government agencies and other zoos for assistance in choosing enrichment items. Placing different stimuli in the animals’ environment allows the animals to use their five basic senses while they exercise. During Animal Enrichment Day, animals will be introduced to new scents, flavors, new games or puzzles.
“We try to give them something that will stimulate all 5 senses,” Naugher says. “ We try to make it items that might illicit that natural behavior in the wild.”
Animal enrichment day allows the Zoo to share a daily activity with guests and present it on a grander scale. Enrichment day will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will start in the South America section of the zoo. Workers will move to a different animal about every 15 minutes until 2 p.m.
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