Classical music is helping lions and tigers at a zoo in North Somerset to feel composed.
Keepers at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Bristol, have been experimenting with audio enrichment for big cats, rhinos and giraffes by playing different radio stations and monitoring the effects on behaviour.
Classic FM has become a favourite of the felines, who have been noticeably relaxed – rolling playfully on the floor and snoozing when their Keepers play the station inside their house.
Big Cat Keeper Emma Godsell has been monitoring her animals’ response to music. She said: “Audio enrichment is just one of the forms of variety we build into their daily routines to promote physical and mental wellbeing and stimulation.
“Crucial to the health of captive animals, enrichment at the zoo also includes finding novel ways to present food, puzzles and changes to the layout of enclosures or indoor pens. This encourages animals to stay alert and active.”
Rhino & giraffe keeper Emma Green also uses a detailed daily enrichment plan with each of her species.
But in contrast, Rumbull and Rumba the white rhinos prefer the more up-beat tempo of Kiss and Heart FM, sometimes standing closer to the fence so that they can listen to the radio.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is currently building a new 20 acre habitat for elephants to open this summer. ‘Elephant Eden’ will become the UK’s largest elephant facility and will use a range of enrichment techniques to encourage Indian elephants to actively search for food and interact as a herd.
For information about the animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and the progress of Elephant Eden please visit http://www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk or phone 01275 852606.