Animal enrichment in zoos

Many of us enjoy visiting zoos to see wildlife animals. These animals are taken care of a lot different than everyday pets or farm animals. A type of care called animal enrichment is very important to zoo animals. Animal enrichment is meant to improve the animals’ environments and care based on their natural behaviors and instincts.

The most important types of animal enrichment are normally environmental. Environmental enrichments have to do with the animal’s surroundings. Animals need to explore and be able to fulfill their natural instincts. These environmental enrichments help the animals in many different ways. Enrichments help both physically and socially.

Environmental enrichments can help lower an animal’s aggression and abnormal behavior. Physical activity and the overall survival rate of the animals can also improve with enrichments. Both physical and social enrichments can be seen at the zoo by any visitor.

For example, a visitor to a gorilla exhibit will likely see gorillas in groups or interacting with zookeepers. Both of these interactions are types of social enrichments. A visitor may also see certain traits in the gorilla’s living space that seem odd. Certain presentations of food items or items of play are types of physical enrichments.

Each form of enrichment must be safe and support the animal’s well-being. Zookeepers perform a large amount of research and practice with enrichments. They need to do this in order to get the best results for the animal. Enrichments provide a type of support system for each species.

Learn about becoming a zoo nutritionist

Learn about farm animal housing