Throughout fluctuating temperatures and varied environments, it can be hard work for zookeepers to keep zoo animals healthy. While one type of animal may thrive in hot, dry climates, another needs some serious help to be made comfortable in an environment so different from their natural one, and vice versa. Zoos have many protocols in place in order to ensure that the animals in their care are kept healthy and comfortable.
Here are some of the ways in which zookeepers can make life in a zoo more interesting for their charges and how they can keep their zoo animals healthy.
One of the key ways zookeepers can keep zoo animals healthy is by providing enrichment that stimulates their natural environment. Often, when zoo animals do not have enough enrichment, they can become depressed and unhealthy, even if they are physically in good shape. The types of enrichment used are catered to the type of animal and encourage species-appropriate behaviors.
There are 6 main types of enrichment.
- Environmental involves the exhibit the animals are kept in. Vines, rocks, different types of surfaces, all of these encourage animals to go about their lives as close as possible to how they would in the wild.
- Social enrichment is when the animals are kept in social groupings that mimic those of their wild counterparts. It allows animals social interaction. This can involve either the same species or different species that would naturally interact with each other.
- Training between animals and zookeepers can provide animals with the chance to learn and problem solve. It also allows zookeepers to get a closer look at their animals in order to ensure that they are healthy.
- Objects provide enrichment too, the same as they do for house pets. Toys and other such objects give animals something to entertain themselves with.
- Sensory enrichment allows animals to use their senses to explore, as they would in the wild. This includes anything from misting their enclosure to nature sounds to spreading spices in their exhibit.
- Food varies depending on the animal. The people in charge of preparing food for the animals ensure to add variety to keep it interesting. For carnivores, this may mean prey items, like bones or carcasses. For herbivores, this may mean branches with leaves that they can pull off.
#2. Accounting For Their Natural Environment
Some animals can function well in environments different from their natural ones, provided that they have enough shelter and that measures are taken to control the temperature. For some animals, they are moved depending on the season. Moving an animal used to safari weather to a temperature-controlled indoor enclosure during the cold winter months is one way that zookeepers can keep zoo animals healthy by accounting for their natural environment as much as possible.
For other animals, zoos can take measures like cooling mists and running water through chillers. This is good for penguins and otters, which have big water features in their enclosures so that they can behave as they normally would.
For the animals that don’t mind the heat but could use some help cooling off, zookeepers keep their zoo animals healthy with things such as ice blocks and popsicles and cooling water vapors. Many animals like to play in the water to cool off. Just like humans, animals like tasty cool treats too, which is why they can be fed various types of popsicles that take their diet into account.
#3. Ensure That They Always Have Water
In order to keep zoo animals healthy, they need to be able to access water whenever they desire. This can be difficult in the cold winter months when water can freeze and during the hot summer months when mosquitoes can lay their eggs in it. Many zoos use automatic waterers, like Bar Bar A, in order to ensure that their animals stay hydrated. The Bar Bar A automatic waterer is easy for animals to learn how to use and provides them with fresh, clean water, no matter the time of year.
This makes it easier to keep zoo animals healthy and hydrated. The Bar Bar A automatic waterer connects to waterlines, which is why it is able to provide animals with clean and temperate fresh water on demand.
Bar Bar A can help you keep zoo animals healthy with our automatic waterers. Because our waterers are close to the ground, it is more natural for animals to drink from them. We offer a variety of different automatic waterers to meet your needs. Contact us today to learn more.