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Elephant enrichment and mixed-species exhibits

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Toddy, 13 Dec 2010.

  1. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Hello ZooChat

    I am currently following the zookeper-training education in Denmark and have my first exam comming up. For this I could use some help from the members of this site. I have a few questions regarding elephant husbandry:

    1) Enrichment
    - What types of enrichment does your local zoo use for elephants? I am especially interested in enrichment in relation to feeding the elephants and what different devices are used. I would also be very happy to see pictures if you have any.

    2) Mixed-species exhibits
    -Which exhibits do you know where elephants are mixed in with other animals? And which animals?

    And finally a side-note: Does anybody know how to tell when a pregnant elephant is close to giving birth (besides the mammalian glands swelling up)?

    My project is due on monday the 20th december and I would really appreciate any help you can give me before that.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Chester have quite a large pool and a waterfall for them to swim and splash about in (deep enough to completly submerge even the adults).

    I know this isn't specifically what you've asked about, but Zoo Tycoon 2 has 'elephant logs' and pursuit balls (along with a few other things, but maybe not as realistic, these include painting stuff and a peanut feeder).

    Can't think of much else, except the usual hanging feeders but don't know if that really counts.
     
  3. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    Safaripark de Beeks Bergen in Netherlands has hamadryas baboons with their african elephants where the baboons can chose to enter the elephant exhibit or not and have an enclosure were they can be without elephants. But for more information there is someone else on this forum who can tell you more about this set up. Maybe he ll reply as well.
     
  4. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure that really counts as "enrichment". I am talking about enrichment in regards to feeding the elephants such as different food-dispensers, feeding walls, etc.

    And I have already seen "pursuit balls" in action in Givskud Zoo in Denmark where the elephants loved them :)

    Thanks for the repiles so far. Keep the comming!
     
  5. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Toddy,

    Rotterdam zoo has lengthy information/manual on website about elephants, I remember seeing info about elephants giving birth.

    Enrichment: usually fruit and vegetables are hidden in hay spread on the floor as a main food, also concrete walls/heaps with small holes where food is hidden, large pastic balls/containers with small holes packed with straw with some fruit/vegetables hidden within.

    Mixed exhibits: many zoos - waterfowl, Heidelberg: axis deer and blackbuck (with escape area), Boras, Sweden - giraffes, white rhinos, zebras, antelopes in multi-acre paddock. Dallas - impala.
     
  6. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    @Jurek7: Thanks for the info! I will check out Rotterdams website shortly. I have seen the mixed savannah in BorĂ¥s and found it highly interesting.
     
  7. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    At Chester they have a wall with holes in that open irregularly on a timer to give access to food (which the elephants discovered could be opened with brute force). They also have food nets that descend and ascend at intervals whilst inside.
     
  8. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    @Toddy,

    The Dallas Zoo's new exhibit mixes elephants, impala, ostrich, giraffe and zebra.
    The elephants are being trained to respond to keepers' signals, walk from one end of the exhibit to the other for enrichment....etc.
    See
    Giants of Savanna the latest evolution at Dallas Zoo | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News

    Of course you should also look at the San Diego Zoo's "utilitree's".
    http://www.mbarch.com/siteDocs/090125elephant.pdf

    Plenty of pictures of both exhibits in the ZooChat gallery.
     
  9. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Well not quite yet on all the animals at Dallas. So far just the impala, ostrich, and guineafowl. Zebra and Giraffe come soon. So far everything seems to be working.
     
  10. nicholas

    nicholas Well-Known Member

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    I think you have to rethink your definition of enrichment. A pool is very enriching for elephants. Enrichment isn't just about prolonging foraging. It can be scratch posts, pools, a tree for shade etc etc. It's not just things can be put in the enclosure for a limited time. Remember that for your exam and you'll do fine ;)
     
  11. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

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    I think it's also worth mentioning that enrichment is about keeping an animal active and stimulated. It's not always about 'having fun', though of course no-one would suggest cruelty was a good idea! Examples I've seen would be putting a model snake in a chimp enclosure, or rotating big cats through each other's enclosures so they get to smell scent marks from other species of big cat. I'm not aware of any examples like this for elephants, though where elephants are taken on walks they would probably meet a few 'challenging' experiences.
     
  12. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone! It is most helpfull.

    Maybe I wasn't very clear in my earlier posts. I am quite aware that things such as scrathing posts and pools and serve as enrichment but my project/assignment focuses specifically on enrichment through foraging :)
     
  13. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

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    Fairy Nuff.

    One thing you might want to consider is use of senses when foraging: sight, sound, touch, smell. Elephants have a good sense of smell, so I'm guessing equipement which made them use that would be a good idea.
     
  14. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    Dog Toys, Zoo Toys, Horse Toys - Aussie Dog Products - Aussie Dog Products has a number of specially designed elephant enrichment devices. it is also not uncommon to see large tractor tyres, logs, chains etc hanging from ropes and trees. Just this week I saw papier mache balls (using beach balls) which will be stuffed with fruit. Also elephant size Ice blocks are great for our hot summers, the ice blocks are the size of a large bucket and a rope is dropped into the water (with big chunks of fruit and vegetables in it also) so it can be smashed around and played with. I have also seen huge paper carrots stuffed with chaff used as the paper is not harmful to the elephants.
     
  15. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    I thought you meant food-related enrichment. Most important enrichment by far is large, compatible social group. Elephants are much less interested in toys, tyres, balls etc.
     
  16. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    But they are still important. Because elephants can't walk as far in captivity no matter the size of the group toys, balls, foraging etc stil play a huge part in preventing boredom. I've seen circus herds with ten or more elephants but they are chained most of the day and show serious signs of stress.
     
  17. Philipine eagle

    Philipine eagle Well-Known Member

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    Planckendael Animal Park (Belgium) intend to keep their Asiatic elephants together with Dybowski deer in the new enclosure (2012).
     
  18. Deer Forest2

    Deer Forest2 Member

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    [​IMG]

    I make this for the elephant at Beijing Zoo.

    The four giant tires are tied together by chains.

    It weighs more than 300kg so the elephant couldn't throw it out of the enclosure.

    These are heavy truck tyres, very firm. They can bear the hitting, kicking, and pressure from an elephant.

    Yes, elephants are more interested in food-related enrichment. So we can hid much fruit inside each storey of the tires.