Football fever at the zoo!
Although England exited the Euros disappointingly early (as usual..!), the nation has been making the most of the exhibition of international footballing talent on TV this month... and our animals have been getting into the spirit too. As a form of extra enrichment for the animals and some fun for visitors and staff, we’ve been having our own ‘knock out’ tournament fun with 8 special animals each flying the adopted flag of one of the 8 countries which made the Quarter Finals of Euro 2016. Our list of plucky animal contenders included: Chipmunk (representing Poland), White rhino (Belgium), Water Buffalo (Wales), Spectacled Bears (Germany), African Elephants (Italy), Crocodile Monitor (Iceland) and Eagle Owl (France), Ring-tailed Lemur (Portugal). Each was given their own flag and a food enrichment treat to enjoy by their Keepers, which was met with excitement and interest by every one of the feathered, scaled, horned and furry creatures!
From boxes containing their favourite treats, to hanging food snacks; each animal had something tasty to get stuck into, even if they were on the end of a losing score line during their adopted countries football match. With one Semi-Final and the pinnacle of the tournament, Sundays Final, still to go – it’s now a 3-way battle to be crowned animal champion between our Ring-tailed lemurs (Portugal) who beat Wales last night (sorry Welsh visitors!), Spectacled Bears (Germany) and Eurasian Eagle Owl (France). The lucky winner will receive an extra-special treat from their Keepers next week.
Enrichment like this, though fun, plays an important role in the daily life of zoos to provide physical and mental stimulation to each animal in a way which best compliments their instinctive behaviours. For example encouraging bears to forage for food in their zoo habitat, rather than putting snacks in once place. With elephants, making them think is important as both African and Asian species are extremely intelligent and can be easily bored in captivity without enrichment exercises that require mental agility and planning. As a zoo, Noah’s Ark also offers incredible up-close experiences for our visitors with these amazing animals including seeing the lions and tigers being fed during the daily ‘Big Cat Talk’, meeting our giraffes at the daily encounter and watching our Birds of Prey fly in the daily display. Why not plan a visit to see them this weekend? If you want to get even closer, why not book onto a zoo keeper experience - a chance to shadow a keeper and work with impressive species like rhino, giraffe, big cats and primates. With 12 exciting adventure play areas, an indoor Animal Village and covered Animal Show Pens we offer a fun visit all day, in all weather – if it’s not sunny all summer, enjoy our large play barns, the perfect place for kids to let off steam. Bring the family along today to Bristol’s award-winning attraction – given the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ from Trip Advisor for a 3rd year running. For a fantastic family day out in Bristol, book your tickets online today if you fancy a visit to us – we offer discounted entry online, just show your e-tickets on your mobile device at our Ticket Office on arrival.