Christmas arrived early today for Taronga Zoo’s Tasmanian Devils, who discovered a Christmas tree adorned with tasty decorations in their exhibit.
The Tasmanian Devils were quick to pounce on the tree, which was decorated with baubles of meat treats, foraging for the festive-themed food and showing off their eager scavenging instincts.
Taronga’s kangaroos and emu also received a gift from a Secret Santa in the form of a Christmas stocking filled with treats such as grass, grevillea and other browse.
“Christmas may only come once a year, but environmental enrichment is something we incorporate into the lives of our remarkable animals every day at Taronga,” said Behavioural Biologist, Dr Vicky Melfi.
“This may include hiding food around the exhibits, providing 'furniture' for climbing and playing or simply making food difficult to access. These activities provide important mental and physical stimulation for our animals, providing them with opportunities to show off the skills they have developed to be successful survivors in their wild habitats.”
At the seal theatre, the stars of Taronga’s Seal Show enjoyed a Christmas pool party, tearing open brightly coloured treats and frozen fish goodies.
Keepers also spread some Christmas cheer over at Taronga’s Meerkat exhibit. Christmas-themed piñatas caused a stir among the meerkat mob, who were quick to grab the meat treats within.
“We are very lucky to have a dedicated team of volunteers who create these fantastic challenges and puzzles for our animals to solve. All animals are equipped with skills to enable them to survive, and environmental enrichment provides a challenge that allows our animals to express these skills, which encourages their continued development and is often fun too!” said Vicky.
Taronga Zoo is open every day of the Summer School Holidays, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day.