Animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will get their holiday presents on Sunday, December 15, in the form of gift-wrapped boxes containing their favorite treats, among other items.
The public is invited to Holidays with the Animals to see different animals – from primates to bison to anteaters to otters – open, enjoy and/or eat their “gifts” as part of the zoo’s animal enrichment program.
“Enrichment means finding ways to keep the animals stimulated, curious and active as well as encouraging their natural behaviors,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox. “Most of the animals’ gifts will involve them in investigating a new scent, foraging for food or just playing with a cardboard box like your pet cat may do at home.”
Fox said providing enrichment for all species that reside at the zoo is a daily practice. The staff holds special themed events for various holidays to educate the public about the zoo’s animal enrichment program. Those interested in gifting enrichment items to the animals can see the zoo’s Enrichment Wish List at www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/enrichment.
For Holidays with the Animals, zoo volunteers collected dozens of cardboard boxes of all sizes and zoo volunteers wrapped them with no-foil paper and non-toxic glue instead of tape.
Zookeepers then select boxes for their animals, cut holes in them and fill them with treats – Bamboo and Craisins for red pandas, fruits and nuts for primates, scents and meat for big cats.
Holidays with the Animals runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to zoo members or with zoo admission.
The schedule (subject to change)
10:30 a.m. Siamangs, lemurs, golden lion tamarins – Social Animals wing
10:45 a.m. Amur leopards – Social Animals wing
11:15 a.m. Contact barn, outdoor birds – Domestic Animal yard
11:30 a.m. American bison, gray wolves – Wildlife Trail
11:45 a.m. Takin and markhor – Wildlife Trail
12:15 p.m. Asian elephant – in elephant barn, look through windows
12:45 p.m. Snow leopard – Wildlife Trail
1 p.m. Red panda, Andean bear – Wildlife Trail
1:30p.m. Tamanduas (anteaters) – Nocturnal Animals wing
1:45 p.m. River otters – Adaptations
2 p.m. Sloths – Nocturnal Animals
2:15 p.m. Giant Pacific octopus – Upper lobby
2:30 pm River turtles – Cave
3 p.m. Diversity of Birds
For more information on zoo events, please visit syracusezooevents.org.