Pumpkins for the Wolves

Halloween enrichment for the wolves.
Halloween enrichment for the wolves (Sarah Lykens).

The animal keepers here at the Museum often place objects in the animal exhibits as enrichment. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Behavior Scientific Advisory Group defines enrichment “as a dynamic process for enhancing animal environments within the context of the animals’ behavioral biology and natural history. Environmental changes are made with the goal of increasing the animal’s behavioral choices and drawing out their species-appropriate behaviors, thus enhancing animal welfare.

Enrichment can be anything from food or browse, wool, balls or other familiar or unfamiliar (to the animal) objects, various scents sprayed around the enclosure or visual stimuli. The type of enrichment is dependent upon the type of animal whose life you are attempting to enrich.

Last Friday, it was a Halloween treat for out red wolves, a Jack-O’-Lantern, sans lantern of course, a carved pumpkin.


Our male seems very protective of his prize (Sarah Lykens).
Our male seems very protective of his prize (Sarah Lykens).


I wasn’t at the Museum on Friday, but according to Museum Volunteer, Sara Lykens, who also took the photos shown here, the wolves seemed to enjoy the treat.

You may have seen Sarah at the red wolf enclosure on one of your visits to the Museum as she imparts her knowledge of the wolves to those visiting the enclosure, or helps folks locate the wolves inside the exhibit (the wolves are sometimes difficult to spot). She’ll be on duty on various days here at the Museum from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Stop by and say hello.

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