What is Enrichment?
Environmental enrichment encourages animals to use their natural abilities and behaviors to interact with their environment. It increases activity and offers an opportunity for animals to make choices and experience new things like they would in the wild. Zoo New England’s enrichment program nurtures the environmental needs of our animals. Animals spend a considerable amount of time and energy finding food, building homes, defending their territories and escaping predators. Life at the Zoo is a little more predictable than the wild as most of their resources are provided for them. The animals need to be offered additional ways to expend energy. By examining the way an animal acts in its natural environment, we can recreate similar situations here at the Zoo. Whether an animal prefers to forage through leaf litter for seeds, burrow into the ground to hide, or stalk and chase its prey, its behavior is taken into consideration when creating enrichment.
Enrichment can be offered in a variety of different ways. The out of place items that you may see in the exhibits are all means in which we try to stimulate the animals. Zookeepers use novelty foods, sounds, smells, boxes, bags, and toys to provide activities that excite all the senses.
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Thank you to our Enrichment Program sponsor: