Zoos around Japan has been taking steps to improve their animal enclosures that will help not only the physical but also mental well-being of all animals.
Animals tend to live a monotonous life in the zoo, which is why zoos are trying to recreate the surroundings of the animals more like those in the wild.
Zookeepers are trying to look at expanding the spaces for their animals, at the same time, provide them more toys or let them spend more time eating their meals. For some species, they are encouraged to bond in herds to help them maintain the “rhythm” of their supposed lives in the wild.
Network for Zoo Enrichment, a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization, is working with zoos to improve its environment for zoo animals.
“Many zoos used to keep their animals in cages surrounded by concrete walls out of concerns for their unpredictable behavior,” said Koshiro Watanuki, a veterinarian and member of the NPO’s board of directors. “Now, zoos need to provide an environment that allows their animals to live comfortable and gives visitors accurate information about each animal’s habitat and life”
However, zookeepers are quite reluctant to make any changes in some zoo animals’ environment as it sometimes can provoke unexpected reactiions.
For example, the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya is having trouble after their popular western lowland gorilla is not getting along with their new neighbor, a chimpanzee family. The chimpanzees has a naughty primate, then seven-year-old Riki. She started getting too excited and threw sand at the gorilla family.
It took several months before the animals adapted to their new environment.
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