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24 Anniversary of Relocation – Animals’ Toy Story

Have you noticed that Formosan macaques at the Taipei Zoo are foraging for food inside a bristle container? The elephants are treating a stack of tires as a “lazybones” sofa inside their exhibit? All of these are creative tools the Zoo designed to increase activity and stimulation in a captive environment. This October 31 in part to the 24 Anniversary of Relocation celebration, the Taipei Zoo launched a series of events themed “Animals’ Toy Story” aimed at providing the public a full understanding of the endeavors advancing animal welfare through on-site experiences.

Formosan macaques in the wild are busy foraging for food every day. And in order to enhance these animals life pleasures, the Zoo has designed a special food container lined with sturdy bristles, with small food items such as meal worms, seeds, raisins and wolfberries hidden inside, so that the macaques would be stimulated to locate their favorite foods and thus increase their sensory abilities and keep them busy over an extended period of time while feeding.

Chimpanzees have high IQs and strong learning skills. For them, the Zoo created a false anthill with honey placed inside, allowing them to stick tree branches from the small holes to reach the honey underneath. To retrieve more honey, some chimpanzees have learned to customize the width or bit the ends of their sticks. There’s also a food maze to motivate the chimpanzees’ cognitive thinking process, where they have to use a stick to manipulate the food into a different location before they can eat it.

For the rhinoceros, the considerate amenity has become an apparatus they simply must use every day. The Zoo placed driftwoods inside the rhinoceros exhibit, so as to let them scratch their backs to relief itchiness. Seeing how frequently the white rhinos scrap back-and-forth under these logs, one can tell how pleased they are with this toy.

For animals bigger and stronger than us, elephant keepers chained four discarded tires together from the shuttle trains, and placed the stack inside the activity area from time to time for the Asian elephants to have a bit of an exercise. By using every part of their body to hook, drag, toss, push, stomp, kick and squeeze, this enrichment toy not only increased the elephants’ activity level, it is also a great help to their foot care.

The Zoo also announced the naming result for the 3-month old female baby giraffe on the day of anniversary. “Niu Niu” (little girl) received the highest votes. Giraffe is an animal that can only be found in Africa, and its gestation period is as long as 15 months. For those of you who missed the “Animal Toy Story” will have to wait for next year when the Zoo celebrates its birthday again!