Enrichment involves providing animals with elements or objects that enhance their environment. These elements work to stimulate the senses and are often made to target specific aspects of an animal’s biology and natural behavior.

Enrichment activities ultimately benefit a zoo animal’s welfare by eliciting behavior that the animal would naturally exhibit in the wild. Some animal enrichment that is commonly used may include:

  • Sensory - Hiding exotic scents throughout a wolf’s enclosure
  • Devices - Providing a cougar with a bird-shaped piñata full of feed
  • Habitat - Creating an exhibit that has various layers and complex paths for a fox to travel through and explore
  • Social - Grouping different species together that compliment how they exist together in the wild
  • Food – Floating a block of frozen blood in a river otter’s enclosure
  • Behavioral  - Creating positive associations through training techniques that help to improve animal care

Look for signs located on exhibits throughout the Elmwood Park Zoo that explain that day’s ongoing enrichment activities. You may be able to witness first hand the way in which the Zoo works to improve the lives of its animals.


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