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Johannesburg Zoo





Spectables Bears



Play enrichment:

During spring and summer (and water restrictions permitting), a mist hose is installed and switched on every couple of days for a few minutes. This allows the bears to play in the mist – something they really enjoy. They also have tire swings attached to their new jungle gym, which they can use to play with. Much like the Honey Badger, the Bears also enjoy playing with balls, so these are frequently provided. Sometimes they don’t last very long though!


Social enrichment:

Clicker training is used to promote social enrichment while teaching the bears to be comfortable with medical examinations. By using motivational training, Carla vd Merwe from COAPE SA is working with the bears’ Keeper Victor and Curator Agnus to teach useful behaviours. Agnus, Victor and Carla also spend time every day blowing bubbles for the bears to play with, which is something they really enjoy.


Cognitive enrichment:

A fruit barrel is provided every other day. The barrel is basically a big drum with holes in. The bears’ daily food is placed inside the drum and the bears then have to roll it for the food to fall out. Since not all the holes are equal in size, it can take some time before the barrel is empty. Food spinners are also planned for the Bears’ enclosure, so keep an eye out for those.


Sensory enrichment:

The bears also enjoy having the burlap scented sacks to investigate. This forms an important part of their olfactory enrichment program and is provided often. As with the Honey Badger, scratching posts and wind chimes are provided for tactile and auditory enrichment.


Food enrichment:

In nature, the bears would spend quite a lot of time foraging for food, so the zoo team makes sure that the bears are given food puzzle toys daily. These toys include stuffed pinecones, hanging logs with fruit or food inside, whole fruit like watermelons and ice barrels.

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