An environmental enrichment project is currently being carried out in the Zoological Garden. The goal is to enable the animals to perform their various natural behaviours and thus improve their welfare.

The enrichment means are simple and don't require much preparation, but they have great appeal for the animals: cylindrical cardboard boxes containing crickets provide enrichment for jungle cats and foxes; fresh-cut branches are served as enrichment for the Persian fallow deer and wild boar; and honeycomb and big plastic "surprise boxes" containing dry leaves and an hidden snake slough supply enrichment for the honey badger and mongooses.
Observations carried out immediately after the enrichment items were introduced indicate that they trigger a lot of interest. For example, the deer were clearly excited when given freshly cut orange branches with fruit: they hoisted the branches with their antlers, rammed each other, dug at the soil with their antlers and feet, and consumed the branches and fruit, leaving little behind; and the mongooses and honey badger dug at the box and engaged with it for a long time. 

This enrichment project is stage B of a project that started last year, led by Aviv Avisar with a team of volunteers. In stage A of the project various methods of enrichment were tested and we are now employing the best methods. Stage B of the project is led by Noga Perry, assisted by Afrin Bonshtein and Noam Rudich.

Photo: Noga Perry

A mongoose with a "surprise box", Photo: Noga Perry

Photo: Ron Elazari-Volcani

Soil on the deer's antlers, Photo: Ron Elazari-Volcani

Photo: Ron Elazari-Volcani

Photo: Ron Elazari-Volcani