Taronga residents receive early Christmas treats
Tuesday 20th December 2011

Christmas arrived early today for some of Taronga’s residents who woke to Christmas themed enrichment items and snow frosted exhibits.

The Tasmanian Devils were quick to explore their snow covered habitat that included Christmas wrapped boxes filled with tasty meat treats, proving a challenge for their eager scavenging instincts.

Tasmanian Devil Keeper Tony Britt-Lewis said: “It’s fantastic to see them forage for festive themed food in what looks like winter in the snow-capped Tasmanian highlands where devils can be found.”

All the presents came at once for the charismatic stars of the seal show in what resembled a summer pool party, with a frosty touch. The seal theatre pool was packed with brightly coloured toys and tasty Blue Swimmer Crabs and to top it off, a snowman was fashioned complete with fishy accessories.

Over at the Gorilla forest a popcorn frosted Christmas tree was cause for curiosity among the majestic great ape family.  

Whilst the Zoo’s newest arrival, Sumatran Tiger cubs Sakti, Kartika and Kembali along with mother Jumilah woke to find their exhibit covered in snow. Just shy of four months old, the cubs are continuing to show bounding feline instincts.

 “It’s fantastic to be able to introduce the cubs to something like snow.  It expands their sensory and motor skills as well as exposure to new things. It’s a delight to see them explore and investigate their surroundings,” said Carnivore Supervisor Louise Ginman.

“These activities are vitally important in the mental and physical stimulation for animals, allowing them to use their natural instincts, like hunting and foraging which also contributes to human understanding of species.” Behavioural Biologist Vicky Melfi said: “Environmental enrichment is something we incorporate into the lives of our remarkable animals every day, today it just has a Christmas theme.” 

“On a daily basis we set challenges and puzzles for our animals to solve, hide their food so they have to forage for it and use different scents in the exhibits to arouse their curiosity.”

 “We are very lucky to have a dedicated team of volunteers who create these fantastic activities for a broad range of animals. It’s something people can do at home with their pets too. “

The wintery touch to the festivities was thanks to the generous donation of 300kg of ice from the Sydney Fish Market. 

 

Taronga Zoo is open every day of the School Holidays 9am-5pm, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day.