Elephant Puzzles

20th Feb 2017

We have two African elephant bulls here at Noah's Ark Zoo, Janu and M'Changa. Their two favourite things are playing and food, so our elephant keepers have found the perfect way to combine them...

Providing an enriching lifestyle for all of our animals at the zoo is incredibly important as it encourages natural behaviour and keeps our animals mentally and physically active. In the wild animals would encounter all sorts of obstacles when hunting for food, so we try to recreate that at the zoo! Elephants are particularly intelligent animals, so we like to make their enrichment extra challenging; take a look at this video of just one of the many food puzzles we've given our elephants.

When it comes to feeding there's not much that elephants can't get their trunks on, so the keepers have to continuously think of new challenges. Recently they came up with a new idea; the feed box. This clever box is designed so our elephants have to reach up to where the box is suspended and stick their trunks up through the tube inside to get to the food. They then have to sniff around in order to find the food hidden inside! Now no one showed them how to do this, our clever elephants worked this out all by themselves!

You might think that these specialist pieces of equipment are ordered in from a manufacturer, but you'd be wrong! Our elephant keepers made this themselves, from scratch! All of our keepers have a very hands-on attitude when it comes to providing for our animals, and their skills are not just limited to animal care. As they work so closely with their animals, they know their behaviours and mannerisms better than anyone else. This means they know which enrichment will best suit them, challenge them and entertain them, and they can tailor their enrichment creations to fit each animal.

The feed box enrichment has been such a success that elephant keepers from around the world have asked our elephant team for more information and instructions on how to build their own!

Don't forget that you can help support our elephants by purchasing one of our Elephant Adoptions for yourself or as a gift. You can also come face-to-face with Janu and M'Changa in one of our Elephant Keeper Experiences; join the elephant team in a one-to-one exclusive experience as an elephant keeper!

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