Animal Enrichment for Captive Orangutans at Racine Zoological Gardens
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Animals taken from their natural habitats by humans are expected to live in zoos with small corridors and the same surroundings for the rest of their lives. To ease this transition in lifestyle, zookeepers have developed a variety of ways to enrich the lives of captive animals. However, there is still much to learn about what enrichments are the most effective. Here, I present a study to examine whether captive orangutans have preference particular types of enrichment. My expectation was that in a choice study, the male orangutan would prefer enrichment that is from his native environment (natural enrichment) compared to enrichment that is man-made (artificial enrichment). Through both types of enrichment did effectively reduce the amount of time spent relaxing, my hypothesis was not supported since the orangutan preferred artificial over natural enrichment. This could be due to lack of previous exposure for an animal born in captive artificial objects are the norm.