Hammocks for Bears! Avon Fire and Rescue partner with Noah's Ark

Hammocks for bears and swings for Gibbons... What's that all about, we hear you cry? Well, courtesy of a new partnership with the generous Avon Fire and Rescue, we'll soon be providing new playthings for some of our more active animals - using recycled fire hose! Our local Fire Department put their thinking caps on when they came to dispose of reels of industrial fire hosing, no longer fit for protecting local residents but in good enough condition for a new life somewhere else. Knowing zoos like Noah's Ark Zoo Farm like using novel enrichment for their animals, they wondered if we could make something fun for our charges. We certainly can... Taking delivery of three 23m reels of 70mm, 45mm & 19mm last week, our Keepers have already begun making a range of fun playthings for our Spectacles Bears, Siamang Gibbons and Ring-tailed lemurs, amongst others. Our characterful bear brothers Tupa and Sonco love to climb (and chill out..) so what better than a nice big outdoor hammock for them to get up into? These types of enrichment have gone down a treat with mammal species at animal parks around the world like Toronto Zoo - check out this great mix of photos on Pinterest.

Although zoos like using quirky animal projects like this for nice photos and PR stunts, they do have a real purpose in enriching the daily lives of the animals we look after. It's crucial we encourage each and every animal in our care to be active, physically and mentally - using all their natural behaviours and impulses to keep them engaged with their environment. The best of zoos have a great balance between showing animals to the public whilst creating as natural a home as possible, with welfare the number 1 priority. We're pleased to have created two purpose-built welfare-improving habitats for species of conservation interested recently; Elephant Eden, Europe's largest home for zoo elephants, and Andean Adventure, a bears paradise with it's own hills and running stream. Here at Noah's Ark we usually incorporate animal enrichment into our annual Events, a chance for our visitors to watch Keepers prepare novel treats or toys for a species and even take part in a practical and educational workshop during the day. Popular Events like Woo at the Zoo and Pumpkin Fun Day include activities for families to engage with like this - visit us this autumn to get involved.

Although the holidays are coming to an end, there's still lots of see and do with us during the week and at weekends. Catering for over 30,000 school children on organised trips each year we have a host of ideas if you're a teacher planning an educational visit. And if you're local to the area and haven't visited us for a while - come and see whats changed, there's a reason why we're known as 'home of the big zoo animals' with a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor! For ease, why not buy your tickets online before you travel to speed up your entry and make a saving? We hope to welcome you to our park soon, we're sure you'll have a blast.

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