Credit: Oregon Zoo
Ever see a tiger bat a boomer ball? Or an octopus play with a rubber toy? Enrichment - providing stimulating and challenging environments, objects, and activities for animals in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is as critical to an animal's well-being as having the right food and medical care
Sand, mud, rotting logs, and leaf litter might not seem very exciting to you and me, but for some animals that's the perfect playground! Providing the right environment for animals is crucial. Animals need opportunities to run, jump, pounce, climb, burrow, dive, hunt for food, and explore — to do all of the things that come naturally. Enrichment keeps animals mentally and physically fit. Read more about why animal enrichment is a vital part of AZA Animal Husbandry and Welfare.
Creating art is a valuable form of enrichment for animals in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. Some animals use a paint brush while others paint with their paws, claws, tails and scales. It's also safe - the paints are non-toxic and washable. Animal artists include chimpanzees, kangaroos, ocelots, elephants, red pandas, and — believe it or not — frogs and Komodo dragons. Watch a slide show of animal artists in action.
Enrichment in AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums
Providing enrichment is an important part of the job for zoo keepers and aquarists who are always developing new and creative enrichment activities for the animals in their care. Use the links below to see some ways in which AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide enrichment for their animals.