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Dec 14, 2007

Tactile enrichment for carnivores

Tactile enrichment for carnivores from Chessington World of Adventures

Enrichment methods for carnivores

Due to the closed nature of the captive environment it doesn’t take long for an animal’s enclosure to become stale due to poor stimuli - especially in relation to the environment habituated by their wild counterparts, where there is a fluid movement of factors encouraging natural and challenging behaviours.

This becomes increasingly apparent with carnivores, who gain the majority of their physical and mental exercise through predator-prey relationships. Legal and ethical boundaries constrain the replication of these situations in captivity. Therefore a substantial deficit in stimuli exists for this specialised group of animals, beyond that of most other species.

To combat these idiosyncrasies a number of enrichment techniques are often used, most commonly in conjunction with the provision of food. The role of scent in enrichment has been well documented, however the importance of texture has generally been overlooked.

At Chessington there was a clear need for a wider variety of enrichment to keep our carnivores stimulated, therefore this study was undertaken to see if texture could be used to add another sensory dimension to enrichment.

Developed by:  Chessington World of Adventures

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