If you visited Dublin Zoo for some of our special events you will have seen animal habitats filled with papier-mâché objects, carved pumpkins, wrapped gifts, ice sculptures and unusual cakes to name a few. This is called enrichment. Not only is it a treat for our guests to watch the animals enjoying specially created food and play items, but the animals benefit from the enhanced sensory stimulation provided by the enrichment objects.
Enrichment is used in zoos as a way of making the environment animals live in more stimulating. Dublin Zoo uses enrichment to encourage natural behaviours in our animals.
Animal care staff demonstrates enrichment techniques by varying the way their food is presented, putting smells in their habitats and giving them novel items to interact with.
Animal training is another form of enrichment as well as an animal management technique. Through training by positive reinforcement, animals voluntarily participate with keepers for health checks and other procedures such as getting a pedicure! This allows animals to receive the best care possible through their own willing involvement in the process, provides a challenge for them and offers the opportunity to earn a reward!