Animal Enrichment at Riverbanks

Photo courtesy of ©Ron Brasington.

Spot, sniff, poke, pounce…

Enrichment encompasses a variety of items or activities designed to encourage the natural behaviors of animals under our care. Objects with hidden food, sounds and/or scents compel the animals to explore with their senses and natural instincts, while benefiting from important physical and mental stimulation that enhances their health and well being.

How We Enrich the Animals

Search, dig, forage, devour… The animals at Riverbanks can investigate their surroundings every day with various enrichment items and activities provided by the animal care staff. Here are a few examples:

  • Parrots and monkeys are invited to figure out puzzle feeders.
  • Meerkats and monitor lizards can exercise their hunting instincts in the presence of live jumbo cockroaches.
  • Lemurs are offered edible flowers as a new food choice.
  • Lions can sniff around in search of “Zoo doo.”
  • Papier-mâché prey promotes the tackling skills of hornbills and tigers.

The examples above are just a snapshot of the countless ways Riverbanks keepers strive to enrich all of the animals and engage them each day.

Where to Find Enrichment at the Zoo

Everywhere! But look closely because it’s not always easy to see in the animals’ naturalistic exhibits. To help build awareness, the Zoo hosts a special Enrichment Day every September as well as a variety of other planned enrichment encounters throughout the year where guests can learn about the importance of enrichment while watching wildlife in action.

How to Get Involved

  • Volunteer — Whether educating visitors or creating enrichment items, Riverbanks volunteers make a big difference! Learn more.
  • Intern — Learn what it takes to be a keeper — and build your resume! Learn more.
  • Donate — Contributions to the Enrichment Fund help pay for much-needed supplies that help keep the animals engaged in their environments. Make a donation today.
  • Discover — Attend Enrichment Day and other Enrichment Encounters.