Shaka’s Christmas cracker and festive animal treats

An enormous Christmas cracker was given to Shaka, which didn’t last long against the over 4 ton African elephant.

He was swiftly rewarded with the contents of the cracker, packed full of hay and carrots, pouring out ready to be eaten. Keepers typically raise items such as barrels to heights of up to 6 metres. This helps provide enrichment and encourages the elephants to reach up and raise their trunk for food.

Crackers were also made for the Spectacled bears, Rasu and Madidi, to varying results. 4-year-old male, Rasu was quick to knock his cracker down whereas female, Madidi, also aged 4-year-old took her time to enjoy the festive treat.

A special recycled wooden tree was presented to the farm animals including rare breed Bagot goats and alpacas who thoroughly munched through the hanging carrot and lettuce treats. Domino the Bagot goat especially loving the carrot treats.

Keepers also wrapped up presents for the zoo’s famous noisy gibbons and baked a special Christmas pudding for the zebras consisting of soaked fibre beet, grated apple for the icing and beech leaves on top.

“Work never stops for Keepers at the zoo, even over Christmas but it’s a great time where we can really spoil the zoo’s residents.” said Lead Keeper Jayne Gibbins.

“Christmas day at the zoo is such a special time where we give our animals extra treats and scratches and it’s such a festive atmosphere in the staff room.” She continued

Keepers are one of many occupations which has the need for work over the festive period with care for the animals continuing throughout Christmas Day and the rest of the holidays.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm re-opens 28th– 31st December and from 2nd January onwards.

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