Animal Diaries Archive
Active minds need active days
25 May 2007
Welcome to another edition of Elephant diaries, today we will be talking about the importance of enrichment for Elephants and what different types of things we do on a daily basis. Elephants are classed as having large brains just like humans, dolphins and primates. Now what this means is that they are highly intelligent animals that require a lot of stimulation through out the day to keep their brains active. So it's the elephant handlers job to make sure that our three gorgeous girls are given plenty of activities through out the day.
This starts first thing in the morning, we are very fortunate here at Australia Zoo to have about 50 Acres of vacant land right around the elephants night yard. The elephants are given about 2 hours of grazing time before the zoo opens to naturally forage. There are different types of terrain for the girls to explore from creek beds to dense bushy areas to forage through, as well as four large dams to swim in and dive down to dig up the clay and eat it (clay provides the elephants with extra minerals). They are also given this time again in the afternoon as they make their way back to their night yard from the day enclosure.
Through out the day the handlers provide different types of activities for the elephants. When they get to the day enclosure they can search for food that we have hidden around the exhibit. We will also provide different types of browse for the girls to forage on, this is great mental stimulation as they have to snap large branches and crush palm trunks to get the parts they love to eat. Food is a large part of the girls day as they eat about 150 kilos each! The handlers also provide toys and play interactive games with girls, we also have a large rope that they love to play with and use as scratching tools. The activity that our guests love to see the elephants participating in the most, is when the handlers wash the elephants and this also usually ends with the girls swimming in their huge pool.
Well that's it for now hope you enjoyed an insight into the enhanced world of elephant enrichment.
The Elephant Team.