Animal Enrichment is very important here at the Toronto Zoo. Did you know that each of our animals receive enrichment every day? When you visit and notice barrels, toys and other devices within animal habitats, those objects serve as animal enrichment that plays an important role for many of the species here at the Zoo.
Enrichment at the Toronto Zoo aims to enhance our animals’ environments by providing them with opportunities that stimulate their natural behaviours. Giving animals opportunities to follow their natural instincts is as essential to their overall health and well-being as good nutrition and medical care. Environmental changes are made with the goal of increasing the animal’s behavioural choices and drawing out their species appropriate behaviours, thus enhancing animal welfare. Some devices may encourage foraging behaviours while others are strictly for play.
Carnivore Enrichment Feedings
Enrichment for eating or feeding behaviours are of particular importance, since finding food – whether through foraging or hunting – is a principal concern of all animals in the wild. A carnivore’s hunting and feeding behaviours may include smelling, licking, clawing, chewing and consumption of all edible parts, chewing on bones and tearing through skin. Therefore, at the Zoo, we offer our carnivores these large and complex food items that take significantly longer for them to consume. As well, carnivores that engage in social feeding gain an extra benefit from this type of enrichment experience.
Every Saturday and Sunday, you can now watch as we feed our carnivores, where you will witness them showing off their hunting and feeding behaviours. We hope this will provide an educational and immersive experience for visitors, though viewing may not be suitable for everyone.