Hey Kids! Zena the Zookeeper here. It’s holiday time at Oakland Zoo, and I have a question for you: Name something you love getting during the holidays. If you said, PRESENTS! then you and our animals here at the Zoo have something in common. Our animals love presents too. And I’m here to tell you, we just love giving presents to them. The presents we give our animals are called enrichments. Those are special toys and games that help our animals live like they are back in the wild. (If you want to learn more about animal enrichments, check out my blog from September called Animal Enrichment is Important to Chimpanzees!)
So, what kinds of presents do our animals like to receive? All kinds! Our chimps love lots of different toys. For example, one of our female chimps just adores plush-toy snakes. She wears them around her neck like a scarf. The ferrets and chinchillas love hanging beds, and the zebras go nuts for Jolly-Ranger balls. We zookeepers put treats in the balls and watch the zebras happily work to get them out! Check out the picture here of my fellow zookeeper prepping the balls with molasses and alfalfa for the Zebras to enjoy.
And, just last week we asked people to send presents for some of our Zoo staff headed to Borneo to help out some rescued sun bears over there. And boy, did everyone help out! We got so many new toys for them – we even have some pictures of the Bornean bears playing with their new presents from Oakland Zoo.
If you’d like to give a present to one of our Zoo animals this holiday season, be sure to check out the wishlist we zookeepers put up on amazon.com . It lists all the great toys and enrichment we know our animals love to receive.
There’s lots to choose from, so I’m sure you’ll find something that will make one of our animals feel wild and wonderful.(Don’t forget to check with an adult before you purchase anything.)
So, until next time, remember – we only have one planet, so let’s all be conservation heroes and take good care of everything on it!