Zookeepers Struggle To Entertain Animal Inhabitants Amid Lockdown

While us humans are turning to things like Netflix and video games to beat cabin fever since we’re all stuck at home, a new report reveals that animals at the zoo have also been struggling with boredom – all while their zookeepers turn to unusual (but interesting) measures to help keep them entertained.

Zoos Strive To Entertain Furry Inhabitants

Like us humans, animals also experience boredom, especially those that live at the zoo. As such, zookeepers are striving to entertain the zoo animals using tactics such as puzzles, perfume and new types of play toys, all designed to keep them engaged and happy.

This is because as the coronavirus pandemic put everyone into a month-long quarantine (as more than 700 people contracted the virus), the most intelligent animals in the nation’s zoos – such as otters, gorillas and even meerkats – have started missing their human friends and regular visitors.

According to Nathan Hawke from Orana wildlife park near Christchurch in the South Island, the zookeepers have noticed that despite the shutdown, the animals have continued to show up for their daily “meet the public” appointments, only to discover that there’s no public to watch them anymore. As such, zookeepers are making an effort to be in certain parts of the zoo at certain times in order to not confuse the animals and their routine.

In fact, even the rhinos keep turning up for their 3:15 p.m. appearances, the time when they usually get belly rubs. All the while, the giraffes have also remained consistent with their noon and 3 p.m. commitments.

“People provide a great real-life stimulation for the animals, some of our very social animals, such as kea, are thinking something odd is up,” Hawke said. “The kea and gorillas particularly seem to be missing people, they really enjoy seeing the public. So [lockdown] is forcing us to think outside the square and go above and beyond for our precious animals. It’s about maintaining a new normal and filling the gap that the visitors would otherwise fill.”

Meanwhile, zookeepers have to strive extra hard to meet the animals’ daily needs.

Oregon zoo Asian elephant trio at the Oregon zoo. I, Cacophony; CC BY-SA 3.0

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