Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week four

This week was enrichment time for Ray Ray! Since I spent my precious spare moments observing Ray Ray and more time away from MZIB coming up with and researching new enrichment ideas during week three, during week four I spent my time making and introducing those new enrichment ideas to Ray Ray. Now, that’s not the only thing I did, of course. As usual I was in the Farm Yard, the Giraffe House, and the Antelope/Warthog runs doing the diets, clean-up, assisting training, enrichment, and more clean-up. 

Spare moments were spent gathering supplies for the enrichment and putting it together. Then, in the afternoon once everything else was done I would place the item in Ray Ray’s stall and observe him nonstop for an hour. This cushy job included sitting (or standing if I so chose) in the sun with a pen and paper and writing down all observations. For example, was Ray afraid initially? How long did he interact with the item? Did he try to eat it if it were uneatable? How about the edible stuff, did he eat that? Did he leave and then come back to the item, or stay with it the whole time? Were any signs of aggression shown? And so forth.

The reactions of Ray Ray to his new forms of enrichment were varying and often slightly entertaining. Some of the enrichment that he received were; old browse branch with lettuce and fruit skewered on it, scents, a cardboard tube hung in his stall, and fruit hidden in his stall. His favorite, it seemed, was the lettuce and fruit kabob. It was hung so that the highest fruit and leaves would be just barely out of his reach. The idea was that he would have to work a little for the treats… and work he did. For the first 45 minutes Ray Ray worked at this branch, using his lips to pull the branch down and the leaves/fruit into reach. The last 15 or so minutes that I watched him with his branch was spent chewing off the ends of the branches… apparently in the absence of leaves and fruit mulberry branch tastes delicious.

The enrichment that Mr. Ray Ray was least interested in? Definitely the cardboard. While he did spend a solid 15 minutes with it, that was all the time he gave to it before becoming bored and walking off… and not returning.

 Over all, this week was definitely a blast!

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