Delhi zoo (File photo)

NEW DELHI: The Delhi zoo has undertaken an enrichment campaign to provide its animals conditions similar to their natural habitats and improve their physical and mental health. The exercise aims at stimulating curiosity among animals, and encouraging natural behaviour, as in the wild, an official said.
One of the enrichment techniques is cognitive enrichment. As part of this technique, animals are required to solve a problem to obtain food.
For bears, a bamboo puzzle feeder has been prepared. The animal is encouraged to climb up and explore the sections of bamboo filled with honey and bananas, the official said.
“Another way is habitat enrichment. In this, the habitat is made more dynamic, and full of fun. For example, a tire swing has been hung from a tree for monkeys. A rope ladder has been placed for lion-tailed macaques. Perches are created for animals to climb and sit on. They love it,” he said.
Food enrichment involves new food and different ways for animals to get it. This is done so that the animal does not get bored of eating the same food and indulges in activity.
“For example, the food is put inside a cardboard box for lions. The animal has to find it and work for it. In the case of monkeys, food items are hidden in leaves in a corner of the enclosure or in a box full of straw. This makes the animal more active and alive to the surrounding environment,” the official said.
Social animals are grouped or housed in the same enclosure for social enrichment.
“For instance, we have paired lion Sundaram and lioness Hema, and leopards Bunty and Bubbly, and Tajas and Bunty,” the official said.
On Saturday, Union Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo visited the zoo and praised the staff for the enrichment work being done by them.

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