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Spring Planning

Planning ahead saves time and resources

Spring is on the way! It won’t be long before everyone is thinking about outdoor fun and adventure. This will include visits to zoos, animal parks, and petting farms. No matter what type of animal care facility you manage now is the time to plan for outdoor activities and enrichment. Why do it now? There are several important reasons.

Quiet before the storm

We have all heard that expression. For animal facilities, the “storm” can mean a list of overdue repairs and upgrades. As the weather improves, facility managers often discover many maintenance tasks that need to be done ASAP. Painting, cleaning, groundskeeping, and other infrastructure work will demand attention. The Pine Grove Zoo invites the public to help with spring clean-up projects.  Even having extra volunteers can result in tight schedules as staff must manage the workers. By planning now you’ll be able to budget time and resources better. For example, you want to replace that worn-out enrichment ladder with something fresh, like the Collapsible Ladder with PEX rungs and stainless-steel chain. Planning the replacement now allows you to put the project on your work timeline and guarantees the enrichment projects are not last on the list.

collapsible ladder
Collapsible Ladder

Appearances matter

Visitors and patrons often judge a facility by what they see. Old and damaged enrichment products make it appear like the animals are not being cared for. Reid Park Zoo considers freshening up its animal enclosures with enrichment products, an integral part of excellence and innovation in animal care.  Even pet owners replace dog, cat, and bird toys when they look old, even if the toy is still serviceable. For example, ball enrichment products are something everyone can relate to. Everyone loves to watch canines, primates, large cats, bears, otters, and other animals play with balls. Discard old, dingy balls with bright, “friendly” new products.

Hornbill Forager

Animals need variety

All animals need variety to stimulate cognitive and physical activity. Matching the correct size enrichment product to the animal is important for success. The Fire Hose Squeak-N-Fetch is a rugged but chewable toy for dogs and is available in a variety of sizes. Perfect for supervised play with shelter staff and adopter interaction sessions. Fire hose is often associated with cargo nets and hammocks. But we created a forager product just for birds like eagles, falcons, vultures, cranes, storks, hawks, and parrots that have a need to forage. The New England Zoo has an enrichment committee that meets monthly to evaluate environmental enrichment and plan on updates to ensure the animals always have the best enrichment, whether it be tigers, camels, and birds like the heritage chicken. Don’t forget your smaller animals. Our Silent Runner provides plenty of exercise and entertainment for animals and onlookers alike.

Fire Hose Squeak-N-Fetch
Cargo Net Hammock
Cargo Net Hammock

Save time and resources

It does not take much time to review your facility’s enrichment products. The keepers will know what should be replaced. Instead of waiting until things get busy with visitors, make your want list early and submit it to ensure the products are at your facility before they are needed. This is a real-time-saver and makes your operation run smoother.