B.E. Caring this Holiday Season

Written by Danielle, Behavioral Enrichment & Animal Welfare Coordinator

Tis the season of giving! What better way to give back than to your favorite animals at the Phoenix Zoo?

Behavioral Enrichment Caring this Holiday Season

At the Phoenix Zoo, we are fortunate enough to provide amazing care to all our residents that call the Zoo home. But,  we are always looking for ways to improve the animals’ lives.

If you’re looking for a way to give back this holiday season, stop by our temporary gift shop in the Savanna Grill, and visit the Giving Tree. The Giving Tree is decorated with items from our Amazon Wish List that express wants and needs from different departments throughout the Zoo. You can find items from fun behavioral enrichment (B.E.) devices, all the way to the tools we utilize on a day to day basis. The gift shop open daily during daytime Zoo hours and nightly at ZooLights. So, stop in and check out what the tree has to offer! And, if you’re unable to stop in this holiday season, check out our online Amazon Wish List

Thank you for all your support!

B.E. in the Wild

It’s Healthy to Have Fun!

Our B.E. items may look like loads of fun, but many of these items serve a purpose as well.

The goal of B.E. is to help our animals exhibit natural behaviors that will aid in creating positive social, mental, and physical experiences for them. A great example is our golden conures interacting interact with their B.E.

In the wild, golden conures can be found moving from tree to tree picking off fruits, nuts, and seeds. As they forage throughout the day, their beaks are naturally filed down and maintained healthily.

At the Zoo, to help them have healthy beak growth, they receive a specialized diet and a variety of objects to chew on and pick apart! Our bird keepers purchase specific parrot “toys” or create their own to encourage this behavior in the birds that call the Phoenix Zoo home.


Hoofstock Foraging Enrichment

We all eat, but do we want to eat the same thing every day, and in the same way? Of course not!

Not only do our animals receive a varied diet through the use of different items that are appropriate for their nutritional needs, but our keepers can make it extra fun and challenging by incorporating B.E. into their feedings. We like to simulate a more natural foraging behavior by challenging our animals with how easily they can retrieve their food. Numerous devices could be used to accomplish this, including things like bobbins and jungle balls. These devices, and others, make our animals think about how to retrieve their food, as well as slow down the rate at which they eat, better mimicking their foraging behavior you would see in the wild.


Conservation Manipulada Items

It’s not just cute, it has a purpose!

You may notice many of our animals have what appear to be toys in their habitats, and while these items look fun, they are actually there for a good reason! B.E. is used throughout the entire Zoo to encourage our animals to exhibit natural behaviors.

Take these ferret balls for instance! Did you know, black-footed ferrets live underground in prairie dog burrows, sleeping primarily through the day until nighttime when they are more active? Well, these ferret balls act as a great place for our ferrets to “hide” in.

Throw in some playful ferret kits and not only are the animals being enriched, but so are we by watching them!


The Tools We Use to Provide!

Have you been lucky enough to witness our animals receiving a special treat?

Our Nutrition Services staff love to spoil the animals that call the Zoo home with amazing birthday cakes and other treats for special events!

They are incredibly creative and talented, and are able to make some elaborate treats utilizing different tools such as carving knives
and cake molds.


Want an opportunity to give back? Now’s your chance!

Head over to the Giving Tree in Savanna Grill or check out our Amazon Wish List to find items like these.