PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s not every day you see a rabbit paint a picture or an alpaca being taken out for a stroll, but you might see it at the Philadelphia Zoo, where animals are encouraged to participate in these and other “enrichment activities.”
“Our animals need something called enrichment. It’s those extra things that make animals have an amazing day. It might be a special snack that they always don’t have. It might be a toy. For a tiger, it might be something that they can absolutely destroy,” said Dani Hogan, the Zoo’s director of mission integration.
“Or for a rabbit, it might be the opportunity to paint a picture.”
Zoo-a-thon, which started on Friday and runs through Saturday, is an opportunity for members of the public to support the Zoo’s animal enrichment programs by making donations via phone, texts and online submission.
“One of the ways that we work with our animals for enrichment experiences is through training. So. when they work with us one on one, and we teach new things, that is a form of exercising their brain, and that is crucial enrichment for them, too. And sometimes we get to train our animals to do really unique things,” Hogan said.
Other examples include puzzle feeders that encourage animals to forage for food, enhancements to habitats that provide opportunities to climb and get exercise, and training sessions to improve interactions between animals and keepers.
The fundraising goal is $50,000. More information can be found on the Zoo’s website.
Hogan says the Zoo wants to make sure they have the money to give their animals all they can. “Just like everything else on the planet, of course, prices are going up, and we are very cognizant of that, and we want to continue to give them amazing things,” Hogan said.