Environmental Enrichment

  • Terry L. Maple
  • Bonnie M. Perdue
Part of the Animal Welfare book series (AWNS, volume 14)


Enrichment is potentially one of the caretaker’s most powerful tools to improve welfare for an individual. Enrichment is covered in virtually all husbandry plans issued by regional and national associations, so managers and keepers are aware of the options. Rather than providing all of an animal’s daily rations in an easily accessible, single delivery, zoos have shifted towards practices such as scatter feeding (spreading food around to require travel between locations to obtain all items), devices that require manipulation to extract the food, or required behaviors to obtain food. Providing species-appropriate sounds may also have the effect of enriching an animal’s environment. It has been found that videotapes can be enriching for chimpanzees, although the effectiveness depends on several factors such as social housing condition, video content, and repeated exposure to videos. Given the many logistical constraints in place at zoos and aquariums, the social environment may be one of the more challenging to implement. Cognitive enrichment refers to the process of challenging and stimulating an organism’s memory, decision-making, judgment, perception, attention, problem solving, executive functioning, learning and species-specific abilities. Ideally, exhibit design will take into account species-specific needs at the onset of the planning phase, and exhibits will be designed to be enriching. Another enrichment strategy works particularly well for animals that are normally active at night; elephants, rhinos, hippos, hyenas, lions, tigers, etc. The best example of this idea is the “Night Safari” opened in 1994 in Singapore adjacent to the Singapore Zoo.


Environmental Enrichment Giant Panda Enrichment Program Social Enrichment Komodo Dragon 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry L. Maple
    • 1
  • Bonnie M. Perdue
    • 2
  1. 1.Wilkes Honors College Biology and Psychology DepartmentsFlorida Atlantic UniversityJupiter/Boca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyAgnes Scott CollegeAtlantaUSA

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