An ever-changing environment is the key to healthy, happy animals!

As one of the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom, an orangutan needs almost as much stimulation as you do!

That's why our dedicated animal carers come up with new and challenging activities for our eight orangutans every single day.

Each activity is designed to provide the orangutan with an ever-changing habitat that closely mimics the lifestyle they might have in the wild.

But first, what is enrichment?

Animal enrichment comes in all shapes and sizes and it looks different for every single species.

Enrichment involves providing an animal with an outlet for physical or mental activity, while encouraging them to use their natural behaviors and instincts.

It can involve anything from a challenging food puzzle to providing fresh substrate to build a nest!

Here are some interesting ways we enrich our orangutans' lives...

Playing with clay

Keeper Alex Miller recently introduced kaolin clay to the orangutan group. This new and novel activity was based on observations of other primate species in the wild ingesting natural earths.

"Each of our orangutans had quite a different response to the clay slurry," Alex said.

"Female adult Puteri immediately starting to taste, smell and touch the clay - she even smeared it over her hands, arms, and the ground.

"Adult Utama was initially cautious, but then proceeded to eat her entire portion, meanwhile Sekara, Dinar, and Pulang had a quick taste and then largely ignored it.

"Youngsters Sungai, Teliti, and Lestari also had just a quick taste before choosing other tasty food items and engaging in play."


Engaging with new materials

Orangutans are known for using branches, leaves, and sticks to build a nest, or to provide shelter and warmth. That's why our keepers regularly provide different materials for the orangutans to explore and find a use for.

Recently, Keeper Martina Hart donated an old thick dressing gown that her mum had handmade in the 70s.

"Youngster Teliti loved the dressing gown, she took it with her as she climbed up and down poles and even tried putting it on and wearing it!" Martina said.


At Perth Zoo, we are proud of the work we do to care for these incredible animals.

By providing them with a rich and varied environment, we help them to thrive both physically and mentally.

Orangutans are so special, and we feel privileged to provide them with a safe, enriching home!

Want to help us care for our orangutans? Make a donation to Perth Zoo today!