"When an animal is under human care, we have removed an exquisitely adapted organism from the environment that shaped it over countless years. Stimulating their minds and activity levels allows us, in some small way, to give them back what has been lost in this transition." -Chris Jenkins CPBT-KA
There’s a lot more that goes into being a zoo keeper than shoveling poop and feeding animals. Keepers spend time studying animals so they can give them the best life possible here at the Zoo – and that includes preserving, encouraging, and challenging their natural animal instincts through enrichment programs. Enrichment is a way that zookeepers give animals the opportunity to express natural behaviors.
At Nashville Zoo at Grassmere we have a very active enrichment program that is under the guidance of the Behavioral Husbandry Curator. Each Area Supervisor is responsible for the management of the enrichment of the animals in their area, but the keepers are responsible for implementing the enrichment. It is a team effort when creating and implementing the most custom, species specific enrichment programs for Nashville Zoo’s animals.