Let’s Talk About Marine Mammal Enrichment


Receiving Enrichment is part of any captive animal's life and it can benefit them in a positive way.

Enrichment is the act of providing stimulating and challenging environments, toys, and
activities for animals in zoological facilities. This is very critical to the animal’s well-being as having
their own right to both food and medical care. It also promotes animals to perform their natural
behaviors that they would normally do out in the wild like diving and exploring and it keeps them both
mentally and physically fit.

See some examples of animal enrichment:

For seals at the New England Aquarium, their enrichment is of soft, long ribbons, fish, ice, water, and pet toys. Trainers and volunteers would decorate the pet toys by stringing up the large ribbons into each hole. For some of the toys, they would just tie a single knot at the sides.

Killer whales at SeaWorld love to play with balls, barrels and disks. When the large objects are in the pool, the whales will push them around like crazy. However, they love it the most when the trainers are playing with them. This enrichment is also provided to various marine mammal species at other marine life facilities too.

 

At some marine life facilities, marine mammals like Winter, are provided their very own floating bed!! The animals love to lay on them. Some, like Winter prefer to swim around on it while others, will just rest on it.

I hope this guide on enrichment will help you out on the purpose of enrichment for marine mammals in human care and what various toys they are given. However, but you must keep in mind that before any object is given to the animal, veterinarians must evaluate them and determine if they can be given to an animal.

Big thanks to Kelly Leigh Anderson-Ahearn  for giving me this idea on writing a blog entry that focuses on enrichment and different examples of certain marine mammal enrichment. Thanks again Kelly.

~Jenna~

 

 

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