Christmas comes early to Rockhampton Zoo
Published on 21 December 2018
Animals at Rockhampton Zoo received an early Christmas gift today, as staff provided festive boxes and bon bons filled with delicious treats.
Chair of Rockhampton Regional Council’s Parks Committee, said the presents served an important purpose.
“Today was an example of something our fantastic zoo staff are doing constantly as part of animal enrichment.
“Animal enrichment is an essential part of caring for our animals, and can enhance their physical and psychological health and wellbeing.
“Just like us, animals are curious and playful and get bored quickly if everything stays the same.
“We, as humans, will feel a sense of achievement and pride when we solve a puzzle – the animals also seem to experience these emotions when they are given the opportunity to solve a puzzle.
“Activities like this mean they stay interested, stimulated, and ensure they get plenty of exercise.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said it was wonderful to witness first hand.
“We are so lucky to have this fantastic zoo in our community.
“We have some amazing animals and some wonderful staff here, and seeing how much fun the animals were having and how much our staff care for them is just lovely.
“It was a particular joy to see baby Capri enjoying her first Christmas!
“The zoo is open every day over the holidays apart from Christmas Day itself, so make sure you get down to visit before the kids head back to school.”
The Christmas tree enrichment for the chimps this year is something they have not experienced before. The boxes and bon bons contain nuts, seeds, or dried fruit. This is combination enrichment item. It is a type of scatter feed, mimicking natural foraging behaviour, as well as a puzzle item, as they need to figure out how to open the bon bons/boxes to get to the treat inside. It is environmental enrichment also as it is a new species of tree in their exhibit. This tree will have a different smell and texture for them to experience. The boxes and bon bons are something they have seen before, but do not see often. So it should all be quite stimulating for the group, and especially for baby Capri.
The dingoes are receiving boxes and bon bons with liver treats inside. We need to be careful not to create fights among the dingoes when we deliver enrichment items. This is always something to consider if people are making Christmas treats for their own pets at home. Don’t create a situation where your animals may fight over the treats.
Our birds received all sorts of forage feeders and puzzles hidden treats. Parrots in particular need a lot of stimulation, as they are very clever and like to be kept busy. Luckily we have a great team of keepers and volunteers who create exciting enrichment for our parrots every day.