Zoo animals to receive holiday treats on Sunday, December 9

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will get their holiday presents on Sunday, December 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


If you go:

What: Holidays with the Animals enrichment day at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo

When: Sunday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse, NY, 13204

Cost: Free for members and with zoo admission.

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