South Bend, Ind. With a beautiful weekend ahead, it may be a great time to stop by the Potawatomi Zoo. This Saturday will be extra special because instead of just looking at the animals you can help feed them.
It’s all part of enrichment making. It’s where people help the zoo staff make toys or devices filled with each animal’s favorite food. Those bags of food are then put in each exhibit and the animals are released.
“It's important for the animals because in captivity we take away some of their natural behaviors, like hunting. By building these devices it's a way to use their senses to hunt and then rip apart the device to get the treats out”, explains Primary Otter Keeper Jami Richard. “So, we bring some of those natural behaviors back into their lives.”
The enrichment making station will be set up between the otter exhibit and the bobcat exhibit in the grassy area. Anyone and everyone can participate and there is no extra charge. All you have to do is pay for your general admission, stop by between noon and 2 p.m. and have some fun.
“We have four different activities for them. We're going to make goodie bags, we're going to do paper mache and paper chain links, and then we're going to have a special table for kids to learn how to do origami,” continues Richard.
Each animal at the zoo will get enrichment. Therefore, during enrichment making each device will be filled with different types of food.
“Each animal likes a different thing, so we'll specialize it to the animal. For primates, they really like fruits and vegetables, for otters they like fish and dog food, the carnivores like fish or raw meat,” says Richard.
For more information you can head to the Potawatomi Zoo website.