The animals at Werribee Open Range Zoo awoke to some spooky treats this morning in the form of Halloween-themed enrichment activities.
Giant spider piñatas covered in bison and camel fur, papier-mâché ghouls smeared in interesting smells and a haunted house for the resident meerkats were among the surprises designed by a team of creative volunteers.
While the meerkats explored their temporary new home and the hippos munched on pumpkins, the pride of lions tore into their enrichment covered in one of their favorite scents – rhino poo.
Lion Keeper Katherine Quinn describes the enrichment activities as a great way for the animals to interact socially, while also stimulating their senses.
“Halloween allows us to create interactive and interesting enrichment activities for our animals,” she explained. “It lets them explore new objects and interact socially as they would in the wild.”
But while it might be the fake spiders that seem scary, the plight of lions in the wild is much more terrifying.
Lion numbers in the wild have been rapidly decreasing due to habitat destruction and poaching. The animal is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICUN).
Visitors can support lion conservation by purchasing handmade beadwork at Werribee Open Range Zoo as part of Zoos Victoria’s Beads for Wildlife program.