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Animals Open Holiday Enrichment on December 21

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Bundle up and watch zoo animals celebrate with presents.

Animals Open Holiday Enrichment on December 21

A polar bear plays with his new toys. Photo courtesy of ABQ BioPark.

December 19, 2013

Who doesn’t love a special treat? ABQ BioPark Zoo residents will receive holiday enrichment gifts on Saturday, December 21 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m., weather permitting. Zookeepers have been decorating tubes and wrapping boxes to fill with edible goodies. Join big cats, apes and elephants as they celebrate the holidays at the Zoo.

Enrichment items keep animals alert, active and curious by encouraging natural behaviors like foraging. Everyday zoo animals explore their habitats to find enrichment items. Elephants reach high into trees and even dig into the dirt to find carrots and fruits. Polar bears dive for fish. And snow leopards rip open boxes to find meatball treats.

“Animal enrichment is going to be festive for the holidays this Saturday,” said Debbie Wiese, Primate Supervisor. “It’s fun to watch animals find their gifts and make a giant mess in just minutes. There’s a lot of activity and great photo opportunities at the Zoo during holiday enrichment. Each year, there are new discoveries that the animals make.”

Volunteers from UNM construct daily enrichment, and during the holidays, curators, keepers and volunteer zoo docents work extra hard to put together enrichment gifts. Holiday Nature Crafts visitors constructed paper chains that will decorate animals’ habitats.

This year, watch animals play with their new toys and nibble on fruits, popcorn and other tasty enrichment. Visitors should start at the Cat Walk at 9:30 a.m. and make their way through the ape, hoofstock and elephant areas to catch as many animals opening presents as possible. Times are weather dependent, and some animals may be out for short times or later in the day if it’s too cold. Holiday Enrichment is included with regular admission. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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