Animal Diaries Archive
18 May 2007
Guests come from all over the world to see Australia zoo and the feedback we receive is always what a clean place it is to visit and also how happy the animals are.
Through previous articles you would have noticed just how hands on we are with our animals and this being for a number of reasons. Our animals always come first! These animals are in captivity so we need to make their special lives as exciting and as enriching as possible. Constant interaction with all our animals whether it be hands on, food related or with exciting new toys this keeps our animals thinking and also happy. Different animals have different enrichment activities depending on what they like and what/how they respond. Some animals get their food in a parcel like package and have to un-wrap it to see their surprise.
Now with Jinki our beautiful near 4-year-old Tasmanian devil (born 13th May 2003) loves interaction of all types, we rotate this so she doesn't know what to expect on a daily basis. Often we will jump into the enclosure and spend a good 30min of bonding to constantly build and maintain our great relationship that we have. While we are in the enclosure we are also educating the public about Tasmanian devils: the devil facial tumour, clearing up any myths and misconceptions that these beautiful little creatures have and of course answering questions too. We will often bring some great toys along for Jinki to play with which means chasing and chewing and her number one favourite game tug-of-war (Of course she always wins!).
Other small carnivorous mammals also share these toys so you can imagine the great smells Jinki encounters. We will smear exciting smells on the toys like fish smells and honey, some toys allow us to put insects in them for Jinki to find and when our Camel and Dingoes malt their fur or hair - yes that's right more enrichment for Jinki! We hide this in her enclosure and this makes for another great game.
Now if this doesn't keep Jinki busy we also take her out for walks in the zoo. That's right we can put a harness on Jinki and off she goes. Tasmanian Devils actually have poor eyesight so you can imagine the different smells and textures that keep her active and also very happy. I guess this is sort of equivalent to us reading a newspaper, watching television or going to the beach. For your pets at home like your dog this is like going for walks, digging up buried treasures, receiving cuddles, taking baths and playing ball! Enrichment is very important but also can be very fun for all!
So next time you visit Australia Zoo be sure to ask the keeper which animal is actually having the most fun the keeper or the animal?
Till next time Devils rule!!!!!!