From our friends at www.fox35orlando.com


The animals at Walt Disney World Resorts got a special holiday surprise.

Santa came to town a little early for the gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The gorillas were given Christmas presents to open and not only is it fun and adorable for guests at the park to watch, but it also stimulates natural behavior for the animals, like foraging.

Animal keepers put the gifts all around their habitat and hid some in the trees too. The gifts were full of popcorn, hay, and other treats they loved to eat.

 “It’s really important to try to satisfy the things that they need, but then also to take it a step further and encourage them to use their minds and their bodies to interact with things,” said Angela Lebanik, an Animal Keeper at Walt Disney World Resorts.

The Magic of Disney meets technology as part of a push to keep animals at Walt Disney World Resorts happy, healthy, and active. Enrichment developers created a motorized 3D-printed ball for the Cheetahs.  The ball has a motor, microcontroller, weighted plate, and 3D-printed parts. The Big Cats like to investigate and chase the ball.

“If it’s not moving around, they sort of kind of ignore it. But with this one, the idea is if it moves around, we’ve done some tests and the chase after,” said Jose Dominguez, a Behavioral Husbandry Technician.

But not everything enrichment developers make is high-tech. They’ve turned a water cooler jug into a feeder for the Warthogs and Red River Hogs. They’ve also made a feeder out of firehouses and put used blankets from the resorts for the gorillas to snuggle up with.

Michele
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