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Wild Christmas surprises for Perth Zoo's animals

Perth Zoo’s animals woke to find wild Christmas surprises in their exhibits in a festive version of the Zoo’s regular animal enrichment program.

Western Brush-wallabies, ‘Kirra’ and ‘Glen’ woke to find an edible Christmas tree in their exhibit made from Albany Woolly Bush.  The festive breakfast was complete with pine cone decorations, stuffed with some of their favourite foods including carrot, apple and broccoli.

Perth’s famous Asian Elephants, Tricia and Permai, received giant Christmas bon bons and were delighted after ripping open the paper to discover some of their favourite fruit treats inside.

Behavioural enrichment is an important part of caring for the animals at Perth Zoo. Zoo Keepers are constantly setting new challenges for the animals. This includes hiding food so the animals have to forage and work for their meals, stimulating their hunting abilities and in turn educating visitors about the extraordinary abilities of animals.The Zoo’s two Sun Bears which were rescued from the wildlife trade in Asia before finding safe haven at Perth Zoo used their powerful claws to rip open specially made Christmas boxes whilst their extraordinarily long tongues investigated the gifts inside.  

Senior Keeper, Stephen Catwell said: “Curiosity is important for any creature and as part of our enrichment program we constantly provide different opportunities for the animals, ensuring every day is different”.

“Sometimes like this morning the animal enrichment includes food puzzles, but we also introduce different scents with perfumes, herbs and even faeces.  We also use branches and scents from other exhibits to arouse interest. “

Many of the enrichment activities the Keepers do for the wildlife at Perth Zoo can be applied to pets at home to keep them happy and healthy whilst owners are at work or enjoying Christmas festivities.“With Christmas on our doorstep we just added a festive spin to our daily animal enrichment activities,” said Stephen.

“This could include hiding dogs’ food to encourage them to sniff it out and keep them busy, or freezing foodstuff and water to keep pets active and hydrated as we enter the summer months,” said Stephen.

Perth Zoo is open every day of the year from 9:00am – 5:00pm including Christmas Day, Boxing Day  and New Year’s Day. 

Media Contact:Danielle Henry, Perth Zoo Media Manager
Ph: 08-9474 0383  M: 0438 950 643 E: danielle.henry@perthzoo.wa.gov.au

Parent Category
Media Release
Tags
Christmas
enrichment
Galapagos Tortoise
Asian Elephants
Western Brush Wallaby
Sun Bear
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