It was family fun and more treat than trick for the African Painted Dogs and White-cheeked Gibbons, who enjoyed finding their favourite foods hidden in pumpkins.
Perth Zoo Keeper, Lauren Evill said: “By adding a Halloween twist to the Zoo’s regular enrichment program for the animals, we ensure that they have plenty of variety to engage their natural curiosity.”
“We always make sure that every day is a little different for our animals, with activities or items to keep them physically and mentally challenged.”
In the African Savannah, the African Painted Dogs were thrilled to encounter the unfamiliar sight of bright orange pumpkins in their exhibit ‘patch’.
They were quick to sniff out the goodies hidden inside, squeaking excitedly as they grabbed at the meaty treats.
The pack of thirteen includes mum, ‘Kisuri’, dad, ‘Hasani’, and their fully-grown litter of eleven who were born in April last year.
In the Zoo’s Asian Rainforest, a critically endangered family of White-cheeked Gibbons had a swinging time as they curiously inspected the pumpkins in their exhibit.
“Mum, ‘Jermei’, dad, ‘Tao’ and their son, ‘Canh’ are very agile primates able to clear up to three metres in just one swing. It didn’t take them long to get to the pumpkins,” Lauren said.
“Halloween may be scary to some people, but what frightens us even more is the conservation status of many species in the wild.”
African Painted Dogs are a very social species and one of Africa’s most misunderstood predators, there are less than 6000 remaining in the wild.
Perth Zoo is committed to protecting this endangered species by supporting wildlife rescue group, Painted Dog Conservation Inc who help ensure a future for African Painted Dogs by running anti-poaching patrol units and removing hunting snares.
White-cheeked Gibbons are one of the world’s rarest primates, threatened by habitat loss and poaching for the illegal pet trade in their wild habitats of Laos and Vietnam.
Donations to the Zoo have helped support the work of Fauna and Flora International, a conservation organisation who have employed community rangers and provided education programs to help save gibbons in Pu Mat National Park, Vietnam.
“The festive fun allows us to further enrich the lives of the animals in our care and show visitors the incredible traits of their species and how important it is to secure a future for their wild counterparts,” Lauren said.