Its game on for zoo animals

Animals@play forms part of the Johannesburg Zoo’s behavioural engineering program which relies on providing devices such as balls and concealing food in the enclosures to encourage foraging. It is a fun and innovative way to keep our zoo animals fit and active by using treats hidden in balls of different shapes and sizes. The animals attempt to get the food out of the balls which leads to some creative, amusing and entertaining animal antics.

The zoo uses both naturalistic and behavioural engineering approaches to environmental enrichment. The naturalistic approach relies upon recreating aspects of the natural wild environment to provide stimulation for our animals. Most of the zoo’s enclosures use the naturalistic approach. Animals such as Yellow Baboons and Black and White ruffed lemurs can be seen in enclosures resembling forests, with lush trees and raised platforms. Visitors are able to view the animals in an enclosure that resembles the animals’ natural habitat and link the animal to the natural environment. This helps them understand why it is important to preserve the animals’ habitat in the wild.

These exercises are done to increase behaviour choices of animals and drawing out species appropriate behaviours and abilities so that our animals display natural behavior as one would see in the wild.

The animals@play sessions will take place on the following days:


Date Species Time
04 November – Friday Pot bellied pigs 10:00
05 November – Saturday Meerkats 10:00
18 November- Friday Yellow Baboons 10:00
02 December – Friday Orang-utans 10:00
03 December –Saturday Spider monkey 10:00
09 December –Friday Ground Hornbill & Lions 10:00
02 March –Friday Rhino 10:00
03 March-Saturday Polar Bears 10:00
23 March- Friday Rhino/condors 10:00
06 April- Friday Elephants 10:00
07 April – Saturday Lions 10:00
13 April – Friday Chimps 10:00

Treats will include some of the following activities:

The Pot-Bellied Pigs and Meerkats are given papier-mâché balls filled with treats such as honey, raisins, snacks and pellets. The honey pours out through the tiny holes made in the ball and the smell entices the animals towards the balls. You can expect a lot of laughs watching these animals as they try to break open the balls to get to their treats.

The Yellow Baboons will be given both papier-mâché balls filled with treats and regular soccer and rugby balls which they, toss, roll, kick, chew and tear apart. The Yellow Baboons will be no exception and will keep the crowd amused and entertained for hours.

You are more than welcome to attend any of the session. Should you wish to attend, please feel free to contact me on the following details:
Razina Pandor
Tel: 074 143 3750

Prepared Razina Pandor and issued by Letta Madlala Brand and Communications Manager on behalf of the Johannesburg Zoo. END.

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