If you give a lemur a popsicle...
Mon, 09 Jul 2012 00:45:52 GMT —
If you give a lemur a popsicle, it's going to ask for more.
"They kind of knew that we were giving them something to eat so they came over and they sniffed it at first. Once they got that first and that first taste of the grape juice, it was all over," said Priya Bose, a Relief Keeper at Chehaw.
Bose and other employees experimented with ways to beat the heat that not only give their furry friends some much needed relief from the sun but also keeps them alert and healthy.
"We try and do enrichment as much as possible because it really helps them out. It keeps them mentally and physically stimulated, it keeps them entertained and gives them something to do on days especially when it's this hot outside," said Bose.
It keeps them so entertained, in fact, the turtles and lemurs run for the gate when they see the bowl of watermelon or white cellophane paper hiding their newest obsession.
Although feeding wild animals human food may seem comical, it's actually beneficial for the park and its visitors by building the relationship between the keepers and animals.
As the important keeper-animal bond grows, so does the ability to communicate.
"We're able to really get them a lot more comfortable with us. Nunami, when he was back in holding, would not jump on anyone's shoulders and as you can see today, he was more than willing to jump up and be personable for grapes," said Bose.
When the animals respond, the keepers are able to ensure visitors a good time by calling them out to play when the time is right.