A "giving tree" where patrons can choose a gift to give to an animal of their choice! At the Milwaukee Zoo, visitors can buy the item and bring it in, or donate the money and let the staff do the shopping.
Visitors can select an ornament from the tree, which features an animal enrichment request from the zookeepers such as a food treat, toy, gift card or monetary donation. The enrichment is used throughout the year to enhance all aspects of the animal’s welfare by addressing the behavioral, environmental, physical, psychological and social needs of the species."
Enrichment changes the entire lives of these animals. I was part of very early enrichment research at the San Francisco Zoo, and a sad, depressed, anxiety ridden black leopard named Sabrina went from not-okay to flourishing! by the introduction of a hunting game device which mimicked bird noises and passed out treats of chicken if she hunted it through every zone the noise went in. She calmed down, got happy, and felt like a leopard again. But not completely - until they also gave her trees, climbing branches, and hiding spots! All enrichment! She actually smiled!!
Great apes (with hands like ours) are using iPads - NOT KIDDING! It's incredible. We owe it to the animals to let them learn, play, develop, and keep healthy!
Check out the article, and great job Milwaukee Zoo Enrichment team!!!
Zoo's "Giving Tree" allows visitors to enhance animals' welfare
For more information on Enrichment, visit our page
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