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Radio-controlled cars and drones as animal enrichment

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 3 Aug 2015.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    I think such toys can be great enrichment in zoos. Imagine lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, hunting dogs or other carnivores chasing radio-controlled car or drone.

    I thought about it because several good documentaries had radio controlled cars and drones sent to mingle with wild animals (lions, tigers, elephants, bears etc) to film incredible pictures inside the herd.

    It would be great attraction for visitors, which cannot normally see carnivores hunting. And great photo opportunity to promote a zoo.

    Staff could even make public operate such a toy as a part of feeding presentation. For the big carnivores, it would probably require fitting some tin or hard plastic cover to prevent animals tearing the pieces off, as it was done by cameramen in the wild.

    If anybody is interested in films, names are: Tiger - spy in the jungle, Pride, Wildebeest - spy in the herd, Elephant journey, Bears - spy in the den. All seem from BBC and might have different names in other channels.
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    This crossed my mind. I also thought about a lazer light as domestic cats chase such lights, however, I believe this might be damaging to their eyes.
     
  3. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    I have seen radio controlled cars used as enrichment on some documentaries about zoological collections, but not sure about which collection (possibly Longest?).
     
  4. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

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    London Zoo used to use a radio-controlled car as a lure for their buzzard in the bird display but not sure if they still use this.

    Some documentaries have shown cheetahs being trained to hunt using a greyhound racing lure, which could easily be set up in a zoo-situation, but it would have to be moved around for variety (and so the cheetahs don't just learn the route and wait at the end!). In a similar vein, I have seen the hunting dogs at London fed with a zip-line, where food is hooked up at one end of the enclosure and let loose to fly along, which the dogs very happily chased!
     
  5. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    I thought they would figure it out as well however I saw a lure used at Kansas City Zoo and they very enthusiastically followed the lure. The exhibit was moated with a raised area for the cats, watching them chase the lure at eye level added tremendously to the experience.
     
  6. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    It occurred to me recently that aerial drones could be used to put food or other items in hard to reach parts of enclosures.
    I think in particular you could allow orangutans to simulate some natural behaviours by regularly preparing a series of enclosures and allowing the apes to rotate themselves through.
     
  7. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Many dogs and cats are fascinated by such radio-controlled toys, another reason to try it on their wild cousins.
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Good point! I think orangs really benefit from being fed above ground level, even a handful of berries scattered over a high platform would encourage them to climb and forage above the ground.

    Alan
     
  9. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    I was walking my dog once and some nearby kids were playing with a remote control truck, and my dog REALLY wanted that truck. It was cute. I bet a lot of zoo animals would love it, and I've seen remote control cat toys at pet stores.

    Side note... Wouldn't it be cool if there were remote-controlled toys that guests could control? Could guests be trusted with that?
     
  10. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest only having that feature at certain times of the day, as otherwise, it could stress the animals, like if it's asleep, guests could try bumping into it to wake it up.
     
  11. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Another way of getting visitors to pay £50 for an 'animal experience'? We could open a book on which zoo will be the first to do it :)

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
  12. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    True. Plus it would be easier to supervise.
     
  13. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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