Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Vervet enrichment goes viral!

Jay the Vervet with another enrichment example

At Dartmoor Zoo we are always trying to come up with new ways to provide enrichment for the animals that live here. Enrichment is fantastic to stimulate the animals, and promotes the use of natural behaviours and problem solving.

Most people have seen the viral video of the dog playing with a bottle that spins, and when upside-down a treat is released. If you haven't it's one to watch!
Image from www.dogloverstoday.com

It's a great example of a DIY toy that keeps dogs entertained for hours!

One day one of our fantastic volunteers came into the zoo with a modified version made by his dad, and we just had to try it out!


Here's the video of what happened when Kiki and Jay, DZP's resident Vervet monkeys got their hands on it!


Curator Colin Northcott filmed their reaction. They right away knew that there was a problem to be solved and they absolutely loved it. Kiki went straight up to it and immediately started spinning it. It has left Colin wondering who is smarter, Kiki or Jay? Jay watched Kiki, copied her a little, but mostly waited for her to do the work and he took the spoils!

We're really pleased to say that the video has gone viral, and zoos all around the world have contacted Colin saying that they're going to give it a go with their animals, including zoos in Toronto, Denmark, Florida and Hungary! A great example of how social media and the internet help zoo professionals communicate and share ideas

We'll try it out with some of our other animals too, and keep you posted on how it goes...

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