Animal Enrichment Part 1.

When we talk about the health of an animal, we normally just talk about their physical health. We do a grave injustice to animals- both human and non human alike when we don't include mental health to over all wellness.

This is why when we talk about husbandry in wildlife centres we always include enrichment. Building enrichment tools and putting together enrichment exercises for animals is important because we can make sure they are using their brains while in treatment. These animals were almost all born in the seemingly infinite outside and wild world. When they are in enclosures (for their medical treatment and rehabilitation) they can get bored or even forget 'how to animal'. Enrichment helps them pass the time as they get physically healthy and can be released again. It can also help them learn and remember how to hunt, hide, den and problem solve. When we release animals into the wild we need to make sure they have the best chance possible, this means we need to make sure they are healthy, non habituated to humans and able to find food, eat it, cache it, share it or leave it alone- whatever makes sense for the animals.

Enrichment helps animals make good choices because it makes sure their brains are as healthy as their physical bodies. Next time you are volunteering with AEI on a wildlife placement, ask to help out with enrichment. It may be one of the most important things you do for the animals that day!