Zoo animals to receive holiday treats Sunday, Dec. 9

Zoo animals to receive holiday treats Sunday, Dec. 9

The animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will get their holiday presents on Sunday, Dec. 9, in the form of gift-wrapped boxes containing their favorite treats, among other items.

The public is invited to Holidays with the Animals to see different animals – from primates to bison to tigers to otters – open, enjoy and/or eat their “gifts” as part of the zoo’s animal enrichment program.

“Enrichment means finding ways to keep the animals stimulated, curious and active by adding variety to their daily lives,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox. “Many of our enrichments are designed to encourage natural behaviors like investigating a scent and foraging for food.”

Fox said providing enrichment for all species that reside at the zoo is a daily practice. The staff steps it up with themed treats for special occasions and holidays. Besides the annual Holidays for the Animals event, the zoo holds Sweet Treats around Valentine’s Day, Easter Egg-stravaganza and Squishing of the Squash in the fall.

For Holidays with the Animals, zoo staff collected some 60 cardboard boxes of all sizes and  zoo  volunteers wrapped them with no-foil paper and non-toxic glue instead of tape. Zookeepers then select boxes for their animals, cut holes in the sides and fill them with the appropriate treats. Those for tigers, leopards and wolves contain meat, while red pandas get bamboo and Craisins; primates, bears and turtles prefer fruits and vegetables. The Asian elephants and giant Pacific octopus will receive ice treats for their enrichment gifts.

Holidays with the Animals runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to zoo members or with zoo admission.

  • The schedule (subject to change) is:
  • 10:15 a.m. Meerkats, patas monkeys
  • 10:30 a.m. Siamangs, lemurs, golden lion tamarins
  • 11 a.m. Contact barn, outdoor birds
  • 11:15 a.m. Blue cranes, American bison, gray wolves
  • 11:30 a.m. Takin and markhor
  • 11:45 a.m. Amur tiger
  • 12:15 p.m. Asian elephant
  • 12:30 p.m. Red panda
  • 12:45 p.m. Snow leopard
  • 1 p.m. Andean bear
  • 1:15 p.m. Giant Pacific octopus (upper lobby)
  • 1:30 p.m. Baby red panda cubs (upper lobby)
  • 2 p.m. Cave animals, Irwin the iguana
  • 2:30 pm Diversity of Birds, Mortoise the radiated tortoise
  • 2:45 p.m. Fennec fox, River otter

Free for members and with zoo admission. Bonus: Special $25 Jr. Keeper Adopt-an-Animal packages for a variety of animals will be available at this event. Adopts help support animal care and a variety of zoo projects, and they make great gifts, available at the zoo membership desk Dec. 9 while supplies last.

For more information on the zoo, visit rosamondgiffordzoo.org

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