Taronga’s hippo keepers tried out some new enrichment feeders for our two adorable Pygmy Hippos, Fergus and Kambiri, this week.
We’re always looking for new ways to mentally and physically stimulate the animals in our care and one way is to give them their food in novel and interesting ways that encourage their natural skills.
Enrichment can come in many different forms and often the simplest of ideas can have the greatest effect. The hippo keepers decided to hide Fergus and Kambiri’s food under half-barrels in order to make it more challenging for them to access.
The keepers were surprised to see that each hippo approached the situation in their own way, with Fergus deciding to push his half-barrel around and eating the pieces of food as they came out, while Kambiri flipped her half-barrel and received all her food at once.
Pygmy Hippos are native to West Africa and are classified as endangered, with as few as 2000 remaining in the wild.
Like their larger relatives, the Common Hippo, Pygmy Hippos spend much of their day swimming and relaxing in the water, but come onto land at night to feed.
Due to their low numbers and the inaccessible areas in which they live, most of what we know about these aquatic creatures is from studying the animals in human care around the world.
- Ungulate Keeper, Johny Wade