SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Dozens of animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will open their holiday presents on Sunday, December 12, at the zoo’s Holidays with the Animals enrichment event.
Visitors are invited to watch animals from wolves to monkeys to big cats open, play with and/or eat their gifts as different species receive them throughout the day.
Holidays is one of many enrichment events the zoo holds throughout the year as part of its education mission and to demonstrate how daily enrichment keeps animals in human care active, healthy, and engaged in their natural behaviors.
“Animals in our care don’t have to hunt for their food or run from predators, so we work daily to provide other ways of making their lives active and enriching,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox. “For various holidays, we like to make enrichment a public event that’s as fun for our visitors as it is for the animals.”
Zoo volunteers have been collecting cardboard boxes and other recyclable containers, which they gift wrap in recyclable paper using non-toxic glue to resemble holiday presents. The animal care teams select presents for their animals, cut holes in them and fill them with treats – bamboo and Craisins for red pandas, fruit, veggies, and mealworms for primates, meat for carnivores like the big cats and wolves.
In addition, guests will have the opportunity to contribute to animal enrichment by choosing an item on the zoo’s Enrichment Tree and making a donation toward purchasing the enrichment item selected. Lowe’s donated a new 7.5-foot synthetic tree to the zoo for the Enrichment Tree, which is located at the entrance to The Curious Cub Gift Shop.
The tree is decorated with laminated paper ornaments picturing various animals, their favorite enrichment gifts and a suggested amount to donate. Guests can bring their choice to the register and donate to that animal’s gift.
A full schedule of the event can be found below:
- 10:30 a.m. Lemurs, Siamangs, Golden lion tamarins – Social Animals wing
- 10:45 a.m. Amur leopard – Zalie and Bob Linn Amur Leopard Woodland
- 11:15 a.m. Contact Barn & Outdoor birds – Outdoor zoo
- 11:30 a.m. Bactrian Camels, Gray wolves – Wildlife Trail
- 11:45 a.m. Takin & Markhor – Wildlife Trail
- Noon Amur tigers – Wildlife Trail
- 12:45 p.m. Snow leopard – Wildife Trail
- 1 p.m. Red panda – Wildlife Trail
- 1:15 p.m. Andean bear – Wildlife Trail
- 1:30 p.m. Komodo dragon – Social Animals wing
- 1:45 p.m. North American river otters – Animal Adaptations
- 2 p.m. Hoffmann’s Two-toed sloths – Animal Adaptations
- 2:15 p.m. Giant Pacific octopus – Upper lobby
- 3 p.m. Indoor Birds & Radiated tortoise – Diversity of Birds aviary
The event is free with zoo admission.