Chief Executive’s Blog
February 20, 2014 § 1 Comment
Here at Edinburgh Zoo we’ve been holding a Green Week this week. Visitors were able to take part in enrichment workshops and learn how to make enrichment devices for our animals. Animal enrichment is important as it helps to promote natural behaviours, such as problem solving or foraging, and helps to keep the animals engaged and entertained. Visitors have had the opportunity to learn about why this is so important and how it benefits the environment, whilst getting the chance to make their own enrichment device. They were then able to see their creation in action, with a keeper giving their toys to their chosen animal; here’s a photograph of one of our sun bears enjoying his:
Still at Edinburgh Zoo, I’ve got a lot of news from the bird team. The gentoo nest site at Penguins Rock has been undergoing a deep clean prior to the start of the annual breeding season. A new “nesting tree” has also been constructed by the gardens team and will hopefully be used by the scarlet ibis later on in the season. The Steller’s sea-eagles are using their new, improved nesting platform and the staff have been supplying the birds with branching to build their nest. Even though the female is too young to breed, the black stork pair in the enclosure next to the duck ponds have both been nest building on the platform created by the gardens staff, a really promising sign for the future. Last but not least, the male argus pheasant has been performing his spectacular courtship display quite frequently recently, but the female still appears fairly unimpressed! It’s still a little early in the year for the female to lay, so we may try splitting them off for a period to try to get them a bit more synchronised.
Out in Uganda, the Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) has completed a pilot project aimed at assessing the challenges and opportunities for conservation of chimpanzees in an agricultural landscape. This degraded forest fragment, approximately 80m wide and 12km long, is surrounded by sugar cane fields and other agricultural crops. Over the past 15 months BCFS employed two field assistants who have been collecting data on the foraging and ranging pattern of the 32 chimpanzees in this forest fragment. Analysis of this data is in progress and we look forward to seeing the results, which I’m sure we can share with you.
To round off, I want to tell you about a lovely visit from Camstradden Primary School in Glasgow that’s taking place on Friday 21st February. As part of the build up to the Commonwealth Games, the school is bringing the Glasgow Schools Baton Relay to Penguins Rock. The Schools Baton Relay mirrors the countries visited by the Queen’s Baton, with over 70 schools and nurseries taking part. Each school is twinned with a particular country and receives the Schools Baton at the same time the Queen’s Baton arrives in their chosen country. Camstradden Primary School, which has been twinned with the Falkland Islands, decided to celebrate their turn carrying the Baton by bringing it to Edinburgh Zoo and learning about its gentoo, king and rockhopper penguins, all of which can be found in the Falklands; we’re delighted they thought of us!
“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos”
~Edward O. Wilson