Monday, June 13, 2016

Message to the Cleveland Zoo

I have a burden on my mind and I'm speaking out. I've been to quite a few zoos and aquariums throughout my many years of life, as I love animals. We went to the Cleveland Zoo yesterday and I do have some very nice things to say about the zoo, such as it is well kept and clean and the animal enclosures are clean. The new 4D theater is a nice touch, although I'm not quite sure why anyone would want to spend time watching a great movie instead of interacting with the animals. The giraffe feeding area is a neat way of getting up close and personal too. However, my heart was breaking at how bored the animals were. Many of them, pace in the same pattern and circle or are just inactive, period. (The black bears, grizzlies and many of the monkeys really exhibited the bored behavior.) They don't seem to interact with their inmates or care to show an interest in their surroundings. I'm putting aside the normal observations of the weather temperatures factor here too. It appears to my untrained eye that the animals need an enrichment program. Some novel ideas include the following items, which are listed on this website:

Various items placed in an animal's enclosure allow the animal to mimic behaviors exhibited in the wild. These items include burlap bags, sheets, boomer balls, chew toys, or hammocks. Often novel objects will be combined with food-related enrichment. For example, sloth bears normally tear down termite mounds with their claws then suck up termites among a pile of dirt. To provide enrichment, keepers can place a closed burlap bag filled with wood shavings and treats in the sloth bear exhibit. The bears would then have to tear open the bag, just as they would the termite mound, and sort through the shavings to get to the treats.

I am sending a private message to the zoo to convey this information. We all need to speak out on the animals behalf when we see this type of thing as they have no voice. - Kim T.