Enrichment is enriching for animals and us
My name is Morgan, and I am a Primate Keeper at Zoo Atlanta. The area where I spend most of my time is with the small African Primates. This includes the drills, Wolf’s guenons, Schmidt’s guenons and Angolan colobus monkeys. Recently the animals celebrated the holiday season with some holiday-inspired enrichment. What is enrichment, you ask? I define enrichment as anything that stimulates the animals and elicits natural behaviors. This could be anything from a new smell, sound, person or way of looking for food.
I always look forward to enrichment days. I start out my day by getting all of the enrichment that the Enrichment Team made ready for the animals. This consists of smearing oatmeal on cardboard cutouts, spraying scents onto paper chains, and stuffing wrapped cardboard boxes with hay, seeds, popcorn and other goodies. Then I get to put it all over the habitat where the animals spend the day! Once they go out into the habitat, I go around to the public side of the habitats and watch them.
It’s unique to see how each animal and species reacts differently to the enrichment. Gus, the youngest Schmidt’s guenon, loves to grab and throw around anything he can get a hold of, whereas drills are natural foragers and will be seen digging through the soil and shredding boxes to see what’s in them.
Seasonal Keeper, Primates
(photo by Morgan Yokosuk)