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A Tiger with Webbed Feet

Monday, March 21, 2011 9:41am
tiger swimming 01.jpg tiger swimming 02.jpg tiger swimming 04.jpg tiger swimming 03.jpg

Keeping our animals stimulated, both mentally and physically, is a really important part of our job as zoo keepers.

We are always looking for new ways to allow our animals to display wild behaviours appropriate to the species. On February 26 the Zoo held a special “Enrichment Day” which was a chance for us to showcase some of the behavioural and environmental enrichment that we provide for our animals on an everyday basis.

One of the many highlights of Enrichment Day was seeing Tuan, our 12 year old male Sumatran Tiger, getting his paws (and all the rest!) wet while he stalked a large blood ice-block (or “bloodsicle”) which we floated in the lagoon at the front of his exhibit.

Sumatran tigers have webbing between their toes which enables them to actually swim really well. Although Tuan is not the most confident in the water, he is certainly persistent and a large group of lucky visitors were able to watch him for over 20 minutes as he focused his hunting skills on the bloodsicle.

One of the great things about enrichment is that it gives our animals choices to make, and encourages natural behavior. Although Tuan wasn’t successful in hunting this particular bloodsicle, he did get a good workout and a chance to improve his aquatic techniques. He didn’t miss out on a feed as there is very little nutrition in a bloodsicle, so it is offered in addition to his regular diet.

The carnivore team will continue to offer Tuan the occasional ice-block, as well as the many other forms of enrichment that we come up with for our cats. Some of the tigers’ other favourites include essential oils and herbs such as lavender and rosemary, scatter feeds or mince smears, and even animal faeces!

Pij
Tiger Keeper, Adelaide Zoo

 


 

Comments

I would have loved to have seen him in the water - unfortunately I was interstate until that evening hopefully I will be here for the next Enrichment Day :)
Posted By: Kim on Thursday, March 24, 2011 11:19pm
WOW!!!!!!!!
I can't wait to see it!
Posted By: Tahlia on Friday, March 25, 2011 7:35am
Tuan is blessed. Tragically tigers are disappearing from the planet. Tuan receives the respect, care and compassion of AZ's expertise. Thank you Pij for contributing to the safe existance of at least this one of a very few of his kind.
Posted By: Michelle Potts on Saturday, April 02, 2011 10:56am
wow so cute wish i was there to see it but sadly i live in perth
Posted By: Sarah Pfeiffer on Saturday, April 02, 2011 11:58am
Wow I would have loved to see this! All I've seen was Tuan dipping his tail in in the pool while munching on some horse ribs!
Posted By: Amanda on Sunday, April 03, 2011 12:29am
thats so cool but blood eww!
Posted By: lizi on Monday, May 02, 2011 5:24pm
I've seen Tigers swimming at the Singapor zoo and i have been waiting for it to happen here. Im now really excited for the next Enrichment Day! when is it?
Posted By: Rachel on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:51pm

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