Animals that have good mental health will engage with their environment more, be less aggressive, fearful and are more peaceful, exploratory and at ease with their surroundings. Enrichment can support this positive mental welfare and encourages natural behaviours in captive animals.
Enrichment is not a substitute for poor enclosure design, a poor diet, lack of health care or any other poor management activities. While it is an important aspect of positive animal welfare, it alone can not compensate for sub-standard care that results in poor welfare.
enrichment is about creating choices for animals so they feel more in control of their environment.
While some enrichment requires regular changes, other forms, such as simply providing a species appropriate environment can stay the same. Either way, a variety is important to prevent boredom and frustration.
enrichment is increasing the complexity of the environment that is meaningful to the animal’s genetic & behavioural needs, is species relevant and addresses specific species needs.
Providing enrichment can enhance the zoo environment for an animal, encouraging them to explore & interact with their surroundings. Enrichment also enhances the visitor experience as the animals show more natural behaviours and are much more active.
Enrichment for the animals also enhances the visitor experience as the animals show more natural behaviours and are much more active.
The goal of any enrichment programme should be to development ideas that will provide a species appropriate stimulating environment that promotes positive behaviours, remembering that both species and individuals will have different needs.
We will be adding Enrichment ideas and suggestions to this page, sometimes taken from positive enrichment actions that have been put in place from our work (hence some blurry images!), showing that even facilities with very limited resources and time can apply enrichment activities that promote improved animal welfare. Also thank you to Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) for their contributions.
Take a look at Hose2Habitat’s website for useful ideas on how to create enriching environments for animals using hoses
Always consider the safety of the animals and keeping staff before embarking on an enrichment programme