Zoo keepers had a surprise Christmas delivery today as Santa arrived bearing gifts for a few of the animals on this year’s ‘nice’ list.
Rather than Christmas delivery by reindeer (which would have broken the zoo’s strict quarantine rules), Santa was able to collect animal enrichment gifts crafted and wrapped by the zoo’s wonderful BEEZA (Behavioural Environmental Enrichment for Zoo Animals) volunteer group.
Our Giant Pandas, tortoise, Macaws, Cockatoos, orangutans and meerkats are all set to receive the early Christmas surprises from their keepers today with large boxes and a snowman shape filled with sawdust and treats for the pandas, nuts and dried fruit for birds and Christmas-trees shapes stuffed with mealworms for the meerkats.
The animals will be so excited that keepers have no doubt that they’ll get their fur and feathers in a flap. The Zoo’s other animals are set to receive enrichment treats throughout the festive season.
Daniel Saliba, keeper at Adelaide Zoo says the animals are always excited to discover something new in their habitats.
“All of our animals love exploring new things, especially when there are tasty treats involved,” said Daniel.
“The birds have so much fun ripping into their presents. They use their beaks and claws to open presents as fast as they can,” he finished.
“The giving of Christmas presents forms part of the important animal enrichment program at Adelaide Zoo,” said keeper Matt Golebiowski.
“The meerkats love receiving enrichment stuffed with mealworms,” said Matt.
Zoo keepers regularly use enrichment to provide variety for the animals, which creates an environment that allows for physical and mental choices and challenges, as well as encouraging natural behaviours.
For those looking for a unique way to celebrate the festive season, both Adelaide and Monarto Safari Park are open 365 days a year including Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Adelaide Zoo is open 365 days a year including Christmas and New Year’s Day with a program of pop-up family-friendly events happening over the festive season. From face-painting and The Amazing Drumming Monkeys to Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco, there’s plenty to keep families entertained and educated about our work to save animals from extinction.