Christmas has come early for the animals at both Zoos SA’s sites which were treated to a delivery of Christmas presents filled with enriching foods and fun.
“Both our sites are open 365 days a year including Christmas Day, so we really do get into the holiday mood,” said CE, Elaine Bensted.
“While it’s business as usual for our animals who receive regular enrichment, it’s a slightly different story for our visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions. It’s so important that our members and visitors reserve and book their tickets online to avoid disappointment.
“We are very keen to have as many visitors as possible coming to see us over the holiday period, however, with the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape we need to carefully monitor numbers allowed on site. Booking in advance is the best way to go,” added Elaine.
At Monarto Safari Park, the troop of chimpanzees enjoyed presents filled with fruits and vegetables.
Senior Primate Keeper Laura Hanley described the aptly named Chimpmas as a very noisy and fun spectacle: “The chimps get really excited when they see us setting up their enrichment.
“This year, the troop was treated to a pool filled with tasty peach and mint juice, a snowman made of crushed ice, multi-layered ice blocks, fruits, veg and boxes filled with healthy treats and coloured straw.
“Little one-year-old Zola and twenty-two-month old Hope had a great time playing with balls and exploring the ice,” finished Laura.
At Adelaide Zoo Wang Wang and Fu Ni, Australasia’s only Giant Pandas, received an early delivery of boxes shaped as reindeer, a snowman and a stocking. Male Giant Panda Wang Wang enjoyed the snowman’s carrot nose before devouring the contents, which included panda cake. Fu Ni enjoyed licking condensed milk off the reindeer carefully crafted by the Zoos SA BEEZA (Behaviour and Environmental Enrichment of Zoo Animals team).
Hamadryas Baboon keepers also treated the troop of Horus, Tomkay, Djibouri and Chappi to boxes and banners and a couple of stuffed toys which saw the baboons frantically flitting from parcel to present. Despite her best efforts, keeper Rebecca’s paper chain decorations were quickly ripped down and thrown into a puddle!
Western Grey Kangaroos Leroy, Scarlett and Winnie also enjoyed pre-Christmas enrichment of papier-mache festive balls filled with kangaroo pellets and carrots.
“After such a mixed bag of a year with closures and limits on our capacity, we are really hoping that people show us their support. As well as daytime opening we are also running a series of Zoo Nights on 26th, 29th, 30th December and 8th, 15th and 21st January at Adelaide Zoo. We’d love to see people there and believe Zoo Nights are just what’s needed to put the sparkle into the holiday season,” finished Elaine.
Zoos SA is a conservation charity with a mission to connect people with nature and save animals from extinction.