Share

Enriching animals' lives

Animal enrichment is an important part of caring for captive animals; it is essential to the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of all animals.

We provide for the welfare of our animals by: 

  • Increasing their exercise
  • Satisfying their natural ‘behavioural needs’ 
  • Optimising the level of stimulation they receive
  • Reducing abnormal behaviour patterns

We encourage natural behaviours in our animals by:

  • Arranging species-appropriate social group composition
  • Promoting normal physiological and psychological development
  • Maintaining behaviours that may be needed for survival in the wild

Educating our visitors

Some of the ways we educate our visitors about Zoos Victoria and the animals we house include: keeper encounters, student education programs and involving our volunteers.

By having a deeper understanding of the needs of our animals we hope to build a love of wildlife species with our visitors. 

Enriching the lives of animals at Zoos Victoria

From Iguana’s to Baboons and Lions to Meerkats, we use a variety of enrichment techniques to give our animals happy and healthy lives. Here are just a few examples:

Iguana

Iguanas

Reptile keepers invigorate the iguanas’ day with irresistible offerings, such as:

  • Live insects and hibiscus flowers to whet their appetite
  • Water misters to add humidity and atmosphere
  • Regular changes of fresh foliage and branches to explore

Baboons

Baboons

Zoo keepers give the baboons special treats like:

  • Papiermaché toys filled with nuts, to tempt the tastebuds
  • Smears of peanut butter, jam and yoghurt, to arouse and entice
  • Pine cones packed with popcorn

Lions

Lions

Zoo keepers liven up the lions’ lives in the following ways:

  • Ostrich eggs or pumpkins to spark their curiosity
  • Fragrant dried herbs and essential oils, like rose oil, to excite the senses
  • Specially made toys to encourage natural stalking and hunting behaviour

Lemurs

Primates

Zoo keepers inspire the apes' and monkeys' natural curiosity with:

  • Tempting toys to provoke energetic activity
  • Fascinating food parcels to whet their appetite
  • New objects to arouse their senses
  • Alluring scents that are irresistible

Wild dogs

Wild dogs

Zoo keepers keep the wild dogs eager and energised with:

  • A fresh animal carcass to stimulate natural pack behaviour
  • Dog treat toys to boost activity levels
  • Fresh liver scent or chicken essence to arouse and entice

Brown bear

Bears

Zoo keepers keep the bears content with:

  • Rotten tree trunks filled with termites to snack on
  • Frozen fruit like watermelon to soothe on hot days
  • Live fish in the pond to stimulate natural hunting behaviour
  • Leaf litter with hidden food treats, such as whole walnuts

Meerkats

Meerkats

Zoo keepers keep the meerkats occupied and active with:

  • Tantalising toys to spark their curiosity
  • Food hidden in logs
  • Live insects scattered in the sand
  • Food parcels wrapped in novel ways