Top 10 Rules Of Enrichment

  1. Make an enrichment plan – Animals should have daily, weekly or monthly enrichment schedules. When using an enrichment plan, your enrichment will be more efficient, useful and effective, whereby enrichment activities should be enhanced and improved continually.
  2. No more free lunches – It is crucial that in a captive environment, you increase and at least double forage time. Be aware of contrafreeloading: animals want to work for their food. 
  3. There is more than food-based or tactile enrichment – With other words, there is more than food puzzles and toys. Be creative, look for enrichment ideas and try to stimulate the full behavioural repertoire. 
  4. Stretching, balancing, jumping, climbing, and pulling – Physical challenge is good for the well-being and health in the long term. When increasing physical efforts, it improves physical fitness, which allows animals to perform some behaviours better, as seen in this flow chart (Chris Hales, 2012) 
  5. Ask for a challenge, not for the impossible – It is essential to increase the difficulty of enrichment within time to prevent boredom, but make it not impossible to avoid frustration. Keep in mind the age of the animal. 
  6. Be careful when introduction enrichment for first – Ensure enrichment is added to an enclosure slowly to avoid anxiety or nervousness, especially with animals not used to enrichment. 
  7. Be mindful when enriching social groups and hierarchy – In social groups, especially with hierarchy, monopolization of enrichment can occur. Claiming of wanted items by other individuals can cause a high level of frustration or aggression. 
  8. Consider the safety of animals (and staff) – Enrichment can go wrong badly. Be aware that with the provided enrichment, animals cannot be trapped, be hung, be cut, be bruised, to ingest, or escape. 
  9. Think in 24/7 – When we go home, the animals stay. In fact, they are there for 24/7 all year round. Enrichment can also be very effective for night quarters and stimulation in the night time, as long it not disrupt their sleeping behaviour. 
  10. Always have fun! – Enrichment should be very fun for the animal and you!

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