Detectives Needed and some Attention for our Prickly Pals

April 14, 2010 § Leave a comment


It’s been a great week at the zoo and the sun has finally been shining on us. If you were lucky enough to visit last weekend you would not only have had the sun positively beating down on you but may have taken part in our enrichment weekend. This was a free event as part of Edinburgh’s International Science Festival. Over the two days around 50 people stopped by between 11 and 1 to help make different items of enrichment for our ravens, jaguars, Sumatran tigers and members of the monkey house! All participants put their creative thinking hats on to come up with some weird and wonderful tunnels, mobiles, boxes and even a flamingo for our animals to play with. Enrichment provides stimulation for animals to investigate and explore their environment. By hiding food in different items the animals are encouraged to forage and explore the way they naturally would in the wild. It is a cost effective and practical way of stopping the animals from getting bored and keeping them active. It is also a great spectacle for the visitor to see the animals trying to figure out their new toy. Thanks so much to everyone who took part and here are some pictures of the enrichment being trashed by its recipient!!

One of our ravens enjoys a mobile of egg cups

One of the capuchins investigates.

One of the Drills destroys a bag of treats

Chandra starts to break up her tunnel

Tina gets her teeth into a cardboard ‘flamingo’

More science festival goings on are taking place tomorrow Thursday 15th of April, with Animal CSI! For ages 7 and up there will be two sessions to take part in your very own wildlife crime investigation. Uncover the crime scene and help look for clues, dust for prints and gather evidence to fish out the culprit. This event is at no additional charge but spaces are limited. The first session runs at 11am and the second at 12noon each lasting 30-45 minutes. Get to the back of the Education Centre early to sign up and avoid disappointment!

CSI Crime Scene

Detectives start to investigate whats happened!

If you haven’t been to the zoo for a while why not come by and say hi to our North American tree porcupine! The lovely creatures can be found behind our Patagonian sea lions near the entrance of the park and are North America’s largest rodent next to the beaver. Being tree porcupines do look up as they are often to be found high in the branches. If you can’t quite make them out you should definitely be able to smell them as they have their own very distinctive odour. They are surprising good at camouflage considering they should be easy to spot what with their multitude of quills used for defence. They can at times however be a bit too good at defence, if a hungry porcupine teeters too close to the edge of a thin branch looking for that tasty bug to eat; it can fall off and get stuck by its own quills! Luckily they are covered with a fatty acid which has mildly antibiotic qualities to fight off any infection. So be sure to stop by just off the beaten track and say hello next time you come our way.

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