Would you like to make a zoo animal’s day even more fun? Create a fresh take on an enrichment toy for Utah’s Hogle Zoo, and you’ll do just that!
The zoo’s animal care staff, behavioral programs coordinator and veterinarian are ready to receive designs for enrichment toys that are easily constructed, completely safe for the intended animal and provide some form of mental stimulation. Some popularized examples of animal enrichment toys include freezing treats into large ice blocks as a cooling snack, rope swings, barrels, boxes, balls, foam shapes, complex feeders and scratching posts.
There are many animal species at the Hogle Zoo that would appreciate your ideas for enrichment, ranging from leopards and elephants, to giraffes and gorillas. Let your imagination go wild to dream up ways to entertain and encourage learning behaviors from your favorite animals, but your new form of enrichment must adhere to the following standards to be considered by the zoo:
•SAFE — it can NOT be swallowed, torn, ripped or broken (and then swallowed), can NOT trap or entanglethe animal and can NOT cut, poke, scrape or injure the animal in any way!
•Sturdy, durable and indestructible
•Keeper friendly- easily constructed, not labor intensive
•Easily carried in and out of the exhibit
One of the most interesting things about this contest is designing something that zoo staff can create with relative ease, so you don’t even have to send them a finished product. If they pick your animal enrichment idea, you’ll receive a picture of your invention being enjoyed by its intended animal recipient, along with credit on the Hogle Zoo’s website for your creation.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo came up with a fun and fruity way to get their animals active, curious, entertained and fed at the same time by giving them some watermelons. This video proves that your enrichment ideas don’t have to be big or complicated, but it helps if it’s a tasty one!
Other great examples of animal enrichment include:
Filling a barrel with popcorn, poking holes in the sides, and giving it to a curious elephant to spin to get the yummy kernels out.
Arranging large cardboard boxes into visually interesting shapes for tigers, lions and other big cats to investigate/destroy.
Hanging plastic buckets, balls and other toys from ropes for curious primates to tug, pull and climb on.
There’s a growing industry out there to entertain not only zoo animals, but destructive dogs, large farm animals and other burly beasts using industrial-grade tough-as-nails toys, tasty treats and engaging exercise equipment. If you’re looking to get into creating zoological products, this open call for animal enrichment ideas could be a significant stepping stone for your career!
Click here to see the rules and here to submit your design. Good luck making some lucky gibbon’s day!
Source: Hogle Zoo