The Enrichment Times - The Shape of Enrichment

The Enrichment Times - The Shape of Enrichment

! # " $ Who’s Who… Sue Dow is the final member of the regional committee to be introduced. As many of you will remember, Bristol Zoo held last yea...

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Who’s Who…

Sue Dow is the final member of the regional committee to be introduced. As many of you will remember, Bristol Zoo held last years regional enrichment meeting and that meeting was beautifully arranged by Sue and her team.


Sue Dow trained as a Zoologist at the University of Oxford and carried out a PhD at the University of Exeter on foraging and learning in pigeons. She has carried out research at Bristol University on the biomechanics of bird flight in the zoology department and investigations into tendon injuries and humane treatments for horses in the anatomy department. Sue worked part time at London Zoo setting up environmental enrichment projects and has been working at Bristol Zoo Gardens since 1992 on construction projects but has also been co-ordinator of research projects undertaken at the zoo. She has taken on the roles of Sustainability Officer and Research Officer and is conducting a longitudunal study into the social dynamics of Bristol Zoo’s group of gorillas.

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Big Cat Enrichment at Colchester Zoo Clare Reeve, Stuart Turner, Vicki Ledbrook and Lisa Doran

For Colchester Zoo’s Big Cat Evening; which is a special event, held once a year; the keepers from the Cat section decided to do something a little different for our pair of Lions, Leoni and Subu and our male White Tiger, Sasha. Claire Reeve, one of the Cat keepers at Colchester Zoo, decided to make two papier-mâché animals for enrichment - one a camel and the other a giraffe. Claire spent over a week of her spare time to make the animals from cardboard boxes and carpet tubes, covered with papier-mâché. The cardboards boxes are recycled from the zoo waste, and the carpet tubes are kindly donated to the zoo by the local carpet store. The carpet tubes were great to use as the legs and which also meant that the models could stand up. They were also very effective as the long neck for the giraffe. After putting plenty of sheets of paper on with the flour and water mix, they were then left to dry. Plenty of layers were applied because the thicker the papier-mâché; the stronger the enrichment would be and the harder it would be for the animals to rip into them! The camel model was painted brown and the giraffe was painted yellow with brown markings. Some real animal fleece and fur was even added to the models, this not only to make them look more effective but it also stimulated the cats to use their smell. Small holes were then cut into the sides of the papier-mâché models so meat could be placed inside.

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The camel was given to the Lions first; which they thoroughly enjoyed. It kept them enriched and stimulated for more than 10 minutes whilst they ripped it apart searching for their meat. Sasha the White Tiger was next with his giraffe. It was placed on his highest platform in the outside enclosure; which not only gave a great view for everybody watching but also meant that Sasha couldn’t see it as soon as he came


He could smell there was something out there for him and he began to investigate straight away. He approached the giraffe with such force, he knocked it over which resulted in the head rolling off! This drew his attention further and climbed down for the giraffes head. He carried it around for a while then returned back to the main body to rip it up, before receiving the meat hidden inside. This form of enrichment was extremely effective and very rewarding and both the Lions and our White Tiger. They were stimulated by the models and Sasha spent quite some time playing with his giraffe as well as eating his meat. Making the models was slightly time consuming but definitely worthwhile and something Claire, and other sections will do in the near future with other species in the zoo. Colchester Zoo enriches its animals on a daily basis in many different ways, but this new idea from Claire now broadens up the ideas keepers can use to enrich the animals even further than we do now. This new and proven method of enrichment here at Colchester is a new exciting way, which encourages the animals to use a variety of their senses to find their feed and exhibit their natural behaviours.

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The Market Place The basic idea of the marketplace is to encourage the exchange of items and ideas between collections. If you have surplus items to get rid of or need to find that elusive part hopefully the marketplace will help. We are hoping that the flow of information will also occur so if there is a burning question that you need answered or need to collect info from a number of collections maybe we can help.

Spices for all Paignton Zoo have had a rather huge donation of herbs and spices, ideal for use in olfactory enrichment. They have so much they are happy to share with everyone. If you would like to get your hands on some of these herbs then please contact - [email protected]

Shape launch the new Safety Database. The safety database on the Shape website has received an overhaul and is now searchable. So if you are designing a new device and worried about the safety aspect this is the one stop resource for checking if others have had any problems in the past. However the database is still in its infancy. For it to get bigger and better we all need to submit our horror stories of when enrichment goes wrong. We need to know about all the mistakes from the minor to those major ones we’d rather forget. If we share the knowledge hopefully we can stop the same thing happening again.

I know what you’re thinking, my boss would kill me if I tell people about that… Well, you can submit your information and it will all remain anonymous. All names of people and collections are removed so no one will know who submitted what and thus no one gets fired. Please go to the Shape website at and then follow the prompts to contact our safety editor, completely anonymously. Thank you. %%&'( )


Calling all Hoofstock Keepers.... AGAIN….

As we have said in all the previous editions of The Enrichment Times, The BIAZA Hoof stock Focus Group is currently in the process of putting together an Enrichment Database specific to hoof stock species, species that are perhaps under enriched in many collections. Therefore, it is their aim to produce a usable database for the exchange of hoof stock enrichment ideas. Now we have asked in the previous editions for collections to send information to the focus group and in particular to Noel Carey at west midlands Safari Park. To say the response has been disappointing is an understatement, so far only two collections have responded. Currently we have over 35 collections receiving this newsletter so I really think we can do better than this. Databases like these are designed to help everyone but will only work if people help them out a little at the start…. The information that they would like to input into the database is as follows..... - Enrichment Name

- Enrichment Type (olfactory, manipulative etc)

- Suitable Species

- Description of Enrichment

- Enrichment Effectiveness

- Notes on Effectiveness

- Build Instructions

- Suggested Supplier of Materials

- Estimated Cost

- A photograph (where possible)

- Personal Details (Name, Collection name, address, contact phone number and e-mail address). Please send all your information to Noel Carey at West Midlands Safari Park, email address is [email protected] We really hope that we will be able to report a successfully response in the next edition of The Enrichment Times and then in the near future be able to tell you the database is up and running. It’s up to you now….

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The Market Place Paignton Zoo has had 100 sack barrow tyres donated and they are willing to pass on a few to other collections. They are brand new and are about 10 inches in diameter. They are after some Astroturf, the coarse variety that is generally used for doormats rather than sports pitches, does anyone know of a source? Also Paignton is now the general drop off point for the second hand fire hose in the southwest area. If you are interested in having some please contact them to see what they have. Please contact [email protected]

Request for Help. Bear Enrichment. The team that work with the brown bears at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have approached us requesting some assistance.They would like to make a honey tree for our bears at WZ. They have a contractor interested in putting one together and need some design ideas. They have in mind a tree approx 3 metres tall (the bears like to climb) with several points for the honey mix to come out a various heights. At present the bears have a large paddock with dense undergrowth which they spend most of their time foraging in. They can be tricky to see so the keepers are proposing having some enrichment near their pond area to encourage the bears to be more visible and demonstrate their ability to climb and forage. A honey tree has been suggested to demonstrate their abilities, it should be able to be loaded and last for some time, hopeful a few days before needing to be recharged, and should be a long lasting construction for the bears to enjoy. The keepers currently can only reload once a week due to time constraints (and they wouldn' t want to give too much sweet stuff to rot teeth!) and would only be looking at providing the treat during the spring/summer periods (the bears are inactive at other times). They are hoping that amongst our readers that someone else may have already construct such a device or similar and would be able to advise them on designs and also any potential problems. Photos would be great too. If you are able to help in any way please contact us at the newsletter or contact Carole Day (Deputy Team Leader, Northern Region) directly at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on the following email; [email protected] Thank you. %%&'( )


Enrichment: The Moulton Way Samantha Ward and Vicky May Moulton College is a specialist further and higher education college, with a wide variety of courses supporting over 2800 full-time and 6000 part-time learners. The College’s mission is to be a Centre of Excellence for education and training for the natural, built and recreational environment with courses encompassing agriculture, countryside management, horticulture, arboriculture, equine, sports studies, construction, building studies, including carpentry, brickwork, and stone masonry, as well as animal welfare and management. The animal welfare unit (AWU) at Moulton is home to around 100 different species housed in a range of welfare specific accommodation. The reptile centre holds a diverse collection of tortoises, a number of different lizards, a range of small snakes and large boa constrictors. The aquatic centre contains a wide variety of tropical, freshwater and saltwater fish as well as many amphibians, crustaceans and endangered turtles, which have recently successfully bred. The aviaries boast indoor and outdoor flight facilities which are home to species such as cockatiels, lovebirds, canaries, budgerigars and parrots. The twilight room houses nocturnal species including flying squirrels, short tailed opossum and a variety of invertebrates. There is also a large assortment of small and large mammals ranging from exotic species such as common marmosets, Goeldi’s monkeys, Bennett’s wallabies, rhea and meerkats; to the more domesticated species such as rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, ferrets, Kune Kune pigs, llama’s and alpaca’s. The AWU aims to provide sustainable resources to promote the longevity of natural ecosystems, to increase understanding in the importance of managing animal populations and to educate on the husbandry, welfare and conservation of animals. With this in mind, it is important to make use of the many resources available to the college through its many departments to enrich the lives of the animals present. The Animal Management courses accommodate a breadth of academic abilities and through the students’ curriculum; they are encouraged to provide the animals on the unit with a variety of new enrichment ideas. For instance, during the hotter months, fruit ice blocks are provided for a range of the animals (see figure 1) to help cool them down as well as providing entertainment.

Fig 1.

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It is also during this time that alpaca’s and llama’s fleeces are sheared and collected to act as enrichment for the ferrets and meerkats owing to its distinctive scent and texture. It can also be used as bedding or mixed in with straw and paper to make forage bags and boxes which serves to increase the sustainability of the centre. As the weather turns more autumnal, the grounds and horticultural departments begin their annual winter preparations and provide the AWU with ample browse and sunflowers to be placed in the aviaries and other enclosures (see figure 2). The branches not only add interest and enrichment to the enclosures, but also provide valuable natural feed for the field animals. As can be seen (figure 2), the meerkats made use of their archway to forage beneath and climb upon, whereas the parrots were able to strip back the bark and remove the sunflower seeds from the flower heads. By providing a variety of different enrichment items as week’s progress for the animals, students are able to observe natural behaviours as well as reactions to novel objects.

Fig 2.

Not to be outdone, the construction department also like to lend a hand in providing the AWU with enrichment and have helped students to construct climbing frames and tunnels from scrap wood within both the meerkat and ferret enclosures (see figure 3). Although they may be seen as one of the more ‘un-natural’ forms of enrichment, they are an important provision for the animals in generating novel, exploratory behaviours. Fig 3.

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The college also caters for students with acute learning difficulties and lessons typically involve them taking certain animals such as the tortoises, ferrets or rabbits from their normal enclosures and allowing them to spread their legs in the arboretum. Other tasks such as the provision of puzzle feeders and fresh food kebabs can also provide these students with plenty to do whilst they learn about the animal’s natural behaviours (see figure 4). Fig 4.

Students on higher level courses, such as on the zoo stream of the applied animal studies degree, also encourage the animals to partake in positive reinforcement training regimes using clickers to target train individuals for ease of husbandry and veterinary procedures, this has also been seen in recent research, as a form of enrichment. Due to the number of students, the enrichment provided is always new and varied and removed on a regular basis to ensure habituation to the devices does not occur keeping the innovation of their enrichment alive.

Samantha Ward and Vicky May. Moulton College

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Dates for your Diary The 3rd UK & Ireland Regional Environmental Enrichment Conference

At Marwell Wildlife, Hampshire UK


12th May 2010

1Shape UK & Ireland (sub committee of 1The Shape Of Enrichment ) are pleased to announce The 3rd UK & Ireland Regional Environmental Enrichment Conference, hosted by Marwell Wildlife. This Conference will bring together Wild Animal Keepers & Managers, Researchers, Students, and professionals from the agricultural & companion animal sector for a series of presentations, workshops & discussion regarding Environmental Enrichment theories, activities & programmes across multiple taxa, including Birds, Hoof Stock, Primates, Carnivores, Aquatics & many others. The Total Cost of Registration is 150 per delegate This includes attendance to all talks and workshops, the Icebreaker, Lunches & refreshments, and attendance to the Zoo Tour & BBQ. There will be a separate charge for the Banquet (11th May) of 220 per delegate. Registration and the Icebreaker event will take place on Sunday 9th May.

For Registration Forms, Abstract Forms and all other information including accommodation, banquet details, Conference Programme and Social Programme please go to or Please email your forms and any other questions to [email protected] Registration is due by March 31st 2010, spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Abstracts are due on or before January 4th 2010

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