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Enrichment Challenge!

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Animal Updates | Birds | Enrichment

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Enrichment Challenge!
Lola the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo playing with a rubber stingray enrichment toy.  | Sara Nieters

Part 1: A Stingray for Lola

To inspire participants to get creative and share enrichment ideas between institutions, the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) issued an enrichment building challenge. Participating trainers created enrichments for birds at their facilities using materials required by the challenge. The group with the winning enrichment received a gift card to buy more enrichment supplies for their animals. The enrichment challenge material: rubber!

In our husbandry department, everyone, staff and volunteers alike, were welcome to participate. The friendly competition sounded like a lot of creative fun. And win or lose the challenge, the animals still benefit! In the end we had 3 entries to submit and the birds had a blast!

The 1st Entry: A Stingray for Lola

Enrichment Volunteer Staccie creatively used the rubber theme to build a sturdy enrichment device for Lola, the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo. Staccie took two rubber mats and cut them into the shape of a sting ray. She stuffed the mats with, colorful crinkled paper and some of Lola’s favorite treats, then carefully sewed the mats shut with rope. She even added some bolts for eyes for that authentic stingray look.

When Lola first received his rubber stingray he seemed a bit hesitant. I would probably be wary too if I received a sting ray as a present… But he quickly realized the fun of the enrichment and Lola did what he does best. He shredded his colorful stingray, pulling out the paper to play in and pulling out the treats. He even removed the bolt eyes. No matter what our score ends up being, score 1 for Lola!

Check in for the next blog to see more enrichment challenge entries!

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