Friday, 21 August 2009

Fire hose fun for Sovereign

Thanks to another large donation of fire hose from the fire brigade this week, the keepers have been very busy creating a variety of enrichment devices. Fire hose is used by lots of zoos, it is incredably durable and therefore safe to use with even the most destructive of our animals.

Sovereign, our ten year old male jaguar, was one of the first to benefit from the delivery. We decided to make a sling for a large boomer ball and to hang this up from a tree in his enclosure. Boomer balls are a firm favourite with the carnivores but by suspending one up high, the type of movement possible would obviously be very different. It was made so that peices of meat could be wedged between the straps and the ball, making food acquisition much more of a challenge! After a week or two, the object will be removed and hung in one of our other cat enclosures for a short time so that Sovereign doesn't become bored with it. The scent of other felines on the ball as it is rotated around the enclosures can only add interest.

Fire hose was also randomly woven between the other trees in the jaguar enclosure and loose ends left hanging down. We hope Sovereign will perhaps bat and pull on these, and we can also suspend food from them.

Our curator Will has made this browse holder and we will be making more in the near future. These will be given to many species including the vervet monkeys, coati, tapir and reindeer. We have plenty of other ideas for the fire hose including a hammock for the bears.

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