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Andean Condors

 

 

Play enrichment:

Empty plastic flower pots make the perfect Andean Condor toy! Food is placed under the pots, and the Condors are encouraged to play with the pots to get the food. They also get giant tennis balls to play with. In addition to this, thick rope has been installed at different points of the enclosure, and on certain days, you can watch as the Keepers Minah and Pleasureh play tug with the Condors. These magnificent birds also enjoy playing tug of war with each other – have a look under the video section as there are a few videos showing them having fun.

 

Social enrichment:

This may come as a surprise, but the Condors are also being clicker trained! This not only allows them to enjoy spending time with their Keepers, but they learn important skills such as how to go in and out of a crate, which is very useful when they need to go for Vet visits.

 

Cognitive enrichment:

Kongs are provided twice a week. A Kong is a food dispensing toy that is also a puzzle toy- the Condors need to learn how to manipulate the Kong in order for the food to fall out. Their Keepers also hide raw and boiled eggs around their enclosure for them several times a week – these hidden presents encourage them to search for each egg.

 

Sensory enrichment:

On certain days of the week, you’ll see paper Mache balls, bamboo and branches in the enclosure. This is to stimulate the Condors’ senses as it promotes exploratory behaviour. They are also given hanging toys, where balls, coconuts, whole pumpkins or strips of meat are hung from the ceiling of the enclosure. Every second day, cardboard present boxes are placed in their environment. These boxes are filled with leaves, feathers, hay/straw and of course, Condor treats! So if you spot cardboard boxes (or, as is more often the case, cardboard strips once the Condors are done with them) in the enclosure, you’re seeing enrichment in action.

 

Food enrichment:

Pumpkin feeders are provided weekly. These pumpkins are hollowed out and meat is put in to the pumpkins. The Condors need to break open the pumpkins to get their food out. This simulates the Condors having to tear into carcasses in the wild to get to the meat. Mesh feeders are also hung from different structures, often with chunks of meat in them. The Condors really enjoy marrow bones and rib carcasses, so these are provided twice a week. We are working on teaching them to catch food from the pond. The idea is to put frozen treats in the water, for them to catch. So far, they are reluctant, but we suspect winter has something to do with that!

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