The residents of Adelaide Zoo are in for an early Christmas surprise today as Santa Claus makes the first stop on his present-delivery schedule.
The zoo’s animals big and small have been extra good this year to make sure Santa pays close attention to their wish lists.
Santa’s Little Helpers, the zoo’s volunteers, have been hard at work helping prepare for the festive season, creating a range of fun and colourful animal-friendly gifts to spread Christmas cheer.
Piñatas stuffed with goodies and yummy treats are top of the wish list this year for the zoo’s animals.
Adelaide Zoo Team Leader of Carnivores and Primates Jason Hakof says the animals always get excited when they discover something new in their homes.
“It’s quite funny to see all the different reactions to the presents – it really is like watching little kids run up to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning,” Jason said.
“Some will just tear straight into their present while others will be a bit more inquisitive and take their time investigating first.”
The giving and receiving of Christmas presents forms part of the important daily animal enrichment program at Adelaide Zoo.
Zookeepers use enrichment like this to provide variety every day for the animals, to create an environment that allows for physical and mental choices and challenges, as well as encouraging the use of natural behaviours.
Over the Christmas period, visitors to the zoo will be able to take part in the festive cheer as they see a variety of animals receive treats and toys at the Meet the Keeper talks.
Both Adelaide and Monarto Zoos are open 365 days a year including Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day for those looking for a unique way to celebrate the festive season.