One of the most difficult problems for animals in a cage is that of boredom. The number of stimuli is small, the food is served on a regular basis and the animal does not have to hunt or forage for food, there are no enemies or dangers, and the space is restricted. Developing and introducing a variety of environment enrichment means are the way in which zoos, the Zoological Garden included, are trying to mitigate the boredom problem. 
In our previous issue of "Gardens Newsletter" we informed our readers that our caracal had been given a new and improved cage that enables it to use the three dimensions of the cage. Nonetheless, during most of the day, the caracal chooses to lie down motionless. We are therefore constantly looking for new and creative ways to challenge it and make it more active. As part of our attempts to enhance its physical activity we constructed a long pole and, with it, we got it jumping to a height of two meters and even higher. The caracal keeper ties a piece of food to the end of the pole and for about three minutes moves the pole with the “prey” attached over the cage roof, while the caracal continues to  jump again and again in order to get at the food. After the three minutes, the keeper lowers the pole and lets the caracal jump and catch it. During the first month of this activity we could already observe improvement in the caracal’s coordination and jumping ability. 

Photos: Ron Elazari-Volcani

The caracal while trying catching the prey,  on the left  - the animal keeper Jacob Zlait , Photos: Ron Elazari-Volcani