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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Play Day
I thought it would be fun to share some photos of a recent enrichment session for our clouded leopards at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Enrichment is an important component of zoo animal husbandry, offering our animals novel experiences to provide stimulation and encourage natural behaviors. Cats respond to a wide variety of enrichment types, including sensory (such as scents and sounds), toys, environmental changes (such as new branches, leaves, sand), and food items. In this session we combined two of these components - food and a toy. We put meat on a rubber tire that was hung in the cats' enclosure.

First up was Raja. Raja is a bit compromised visually, so we hung the tire low for him and put his food dish nearby to prompt him to the area. First he checked it out:

It didn't take him long to begin his attack:

Checking it out

Next he got a little crazy:

That was fun!

Next we put one together for Josie. Josie is more athletic than Raja, so hers was more challenging. It didn't take her long to assess the situation...

And make her move...

What a wild woman!

It's always fun watching the cats enjoy their toys.


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