Sunday, October 17, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins! Enrichment Time At Our Detroit Zoo

I am darn proud of my cousin with the impish grin holding that pumpkin!  That chimpanzee is your cousin too.  And just like humans, our wilder primates thrive and have a 'smashing good time' when enrichment items are made available.  Enrichment items? "Enrichment includes the introduction of novel and sometimes unpredictable elements such as objects, sounds, scents or other stimuli that give animals choices and control in their environment and encourages them to respond in species-typical ways."  Detroit Zoo animals will be having themselves a smashing good time of enrichment on Thursday October 21 when they are presented with pumpkin treats, corn stalks, pinatas and red-colored pasta, some of which is stuffed into hollowed out pumpkins. (Sounds like a typical human four year old's party, if you ask me.) The presentations are part of the enrichment experience at the zoo; a time to play with, roll around on,or  just tear apart and smash and devour their treats.According to PR spokesperson Patricia Janeway, each year around Halloween the Zoo's animal welfare staff provides environmental enrichment in the form of pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks as special holiday treats for the animals."The items are hidden in the habitats and placed in a unique manner to stimulate natural behaviors".  Animal welfare manager Eizabeth Arbaugh added, "The gorillas enjoy digging in and eating ghoulish spaghetti."  My thought: Just look at any two or three year old in the same situation and their behavior will be exactly the same! Except human parents will not call food throwing, pasta squishing and pumpkin smashing dynamic and engaging.  But it's looking like a good time at our zoo. The wild creature enrichment schedule:  10:30 am- Gorillas, 11:00 am - Snow Monkeys,11:30 am - Rhinos, Noon- Zebras, 12:30 pm-Bison, 1 pm- Wolverines. 1:30 pm - Polar Bears.  Your own little Homo sapiens food-smashing enrichment schedule back home is up to you. Keep your kitchen mop handy, for your little walking-up-right primate will be imitating their zoo cousins.The Detroit Zoo is located at 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.Zoo Detail:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I could join the party!

October 18, 2010 at 12:58 AM 

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