Belfast Zoo
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Animal enrichment

Enrichment is used to encourage natural behaviour and to provide stimulation within an animal’s environment.

Enrichment techniques are varied and can include basic enclosure design such as climbing frames, planting, pools and sun lamps. We also try to keep animals in the group sizes which replicate their natural behaviour in the wild, including pairs, family groups or large extended groups.

We introduce food related enrichment which encourages our animals to forage for their food (as they would in the wild). For example, our Asian elephants have pipes hidden in the sand which they must put their trunks into to find their treats, the Malayan sun bears have wobble feeders, we provide the chimpanzees with treats in an artificial termite mound which requires them to use tools to get the food out. We also have termite mounds for our giant anteaters and, in hot weather, we provide frozen treats for the bears, apes and big cats which is both challenging and a great way to cool them down.

We also introduce enrichment which stimulates an animal’s senses. For example, we provide bags with different scents for the big cats and bears.

Enrichment is a key part of providing the best care possible for our animals. We are committed to identifying, developing and managing new and innovative enrichment techniques.

Find out how you can support our enrichment efforts or you can find out more about our animal enrichment