It's a Firehose Frenzy for the Capuchins!

1st Feb 2019

Our dedicated team of keepers at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo spend a great deal of time challenging our animals through enrichment to encourage natural behaviours and provide them with a stimulating environment. One of the most intelligent and curious species that call our zoo home are the Brown Capuchins; Diablo, Medellin and Carlos.

Let's start with some monkey introductions! Our three Capuchins are tough to tell apart to everyone but their keepers- take a look at these very handsome photos below to see how unique they really are!

Medellin is the most intelligent of our Capuchins and is always the first to figure out a challenging puzzle, he is the most dominant and therefore the leader of our Capuchin group. A close second in their hierarchy is Carlos, a wannabe leader and a very cheeky monkey who often gets told off by Medellin! Finally, we have Diablo, the most shy and cautious member of the group. Diablo loves the female keepers and is very flirty when they are around!

Regularly changing around the design of our enclosures is just one way that we can make the environment more exciting and interesting to the animals that are living there. In recent weeks, our keepers have been busy brewing up a new design for a section of our Capuchins enclosure, and we are delighted with the result, as are the three mischievous monkeys!

Challenging our Capuchins requires a lot of creativity and our keeper team is never short of that! We were very lucky to have had lots of red fire hose donated to the zoo, perfect for these powerful primates! The keepers constructed furniture for the redesign and quickly got to work with making swings, platforms, ropes and even a tunnel, all made of fire hose!

The durable fire hose has definitely received the seal of approval from our Capuchins, so be sure to watch out for them swinging between the vines and jumping onto their new platforms during your next visit! If you are interested in seeing other types of enrichment that we create for our Capuchin each day, then make sure you come along to our 'Monkey Mayhem' talk, which takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 3.00pm! You'll be able to watch our clever Capuchins figuring out challenging puzzle balls, fishing for their food in paddling pools or ripping open paper wrapped treats! Designing these exciting ways for our animals to find their food encourages them to think and use natural behaviours, we call this enrichment!

...But what is enrichment, and why is it so important?

All of the amazing animals at the zoo rely on their own special adaptations and behaviours to find food and interact with each other and their surroundings. Our priority is to ensure that we uphold the highest standards of animal welfare at our zoo and our daily enrichment activities aim to give our animals mentally and physically enriching environments, that make sure they use these adaptations, even in captivity.

Each day our keepers use their imaginations to design new ways to challenge and stimulate our animals. There are five different categories that encompass 'environmental enrichment'. Here are some examples of ways that we can offer these types of enrichment to the animals at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo:

1) Nutritional enrichment - Offering foods of different sizes, scatter feeds, diet changes, hiding food, feeder balls
2) Physical enrichment – Climbing equipment, burrowing substrate, changing or adding furniture
3) Sensory enrichment – Olfactory (smells), auditory (sounds), visual (sights), tactile (touch)
4) Social enrichment – Mixed-species exhibits, keeper/ animal interactions
5) Cognitive enrichment – Positive reinforcement training, puzzle feeders

On your next visit to the zoo, try to spot some of these forms of enrichment being used by our animals and if you would like to know more about the ways we challenge and stimulate the different species living at Battersea Park Children's Zoo, then come along to our fun feeding talks that our keepers run each day!

Be sure to follow our website and social media pages to keep up to date with all of our upcoming zoo news!

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