What is Enrichment?
By creating a complex environment that encourages animals to interact with their surroundings we are able to:
- Decrease undesirable behaviors
- Increase natural behaviors
- Encourage a diversity of behaviors
- Reduce stress
- Increase memory
What is Environmental enrichment ?
Environmental enrichment is when we make modifications that enhance an animals surroundings in order to create a stimulating enivironment. Engaging a dogs sense of smell, changing the furniture in your fish tank, and giving puzzle feeders to elephants in zoos are all examples of enriching an animals environment. The most important part of enrichment is that we encourage the animals species typical behaviors to shine.
There are numerous forms of enrichment:
Sensory Enrichment is when we engage an animals sense of smell, touch, vision, hearing etc.
Social Enrichment is providing contact with other animals directly and even indirectly.
Habitat Enrichment is the manipulation of the animals living space.
Edible Enrichment elicits foraging and hunting behaviors.
Behavioral Conditioning is training through operant conditioning.
Manipulative Enrichment are actual items that can be manipulated and are combined with other forms of enrichment(dispersing scents, releasing food etc.)
Arizona's Animal Behavior Expert