GOOD zoos provide environments that are more like natural habitats. GREAT zoos introduce Environmental Enrichment Devices (toys and puzzles) that provide animals with new experiences to learn and grow. AWESOME zoos should let their lions stalk and eviscerate meat-filled zebra piñatas.
Zoo New England, who runs The Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham are interested in pursuing an adventurous animal enrichment experiment. After several conversations, I’ve managed to convince Dave Caron, ZNE’s Development Officer to join forces and seek funding for an awesome animal enrichment idea. They have agreed to pull together key members of their animal care staff to see what we can collectively conceive in the spirit of awesome. I have a follow-up meeting with their Animal Care Director and Animal Resource staff on Friday afternoon to discuss meat-filled piñatas and other awesome enrichment ideas. Fund this and perhaps we will get to see what pent-up wild animals are truly capable of. And yes, I plan to film the animals using the EEDs.
More on animal enrichment: http://www.aza.org/education/kidsandfamilies/detail.aspx?id=277 http://www.zoonewengland.org/page.aspx?pid=310
Funded by Boston, MA (January, 2013)