The resident dolphins are working with their care specialists on different behaviors utilizing pumpkins! The pumpkins create a great form of enrichment for them, as different objects are a great source of stimulus as they bond and learn with their animal care specialists.
Dolphins have a wide variety of vocals that they can produce from the constriction of the muscles within their blowholes. Nicholas does know his vocals paired with different hand signals. Any behavior can be associated with a different stimulus though. Nick was asked to offer different vocals when presented with the different pictures on the pumpkins. While at this time, Nic doesn’t 100% know which picture is which vocal, he could associate that over time he did not require the hand signal to just offer the vocal with the presentation of that picture on the pumpkin.
Winter & Hope
Enrichment for the animals can come in many different forms. There are items or stimuli we can add to the animal’s environment to add variability and encourage natural behaviors. Dolphins are naturally curious, especially Hope! Adding items to the window for them to explore is a great way for us to add variability and we can add seasonal fun with objects like painted pumpkins! Hope really seemed to enjoy checking them out.
Winter is practicing her cognitive challenge of matching a sample item to its pair in a different location of the Winter Zone habitat. The pumpkin is a match to sample that is new to Winter, so definitely a challenge to ask her to problem solve! To increase the challenge we can even add more objects and give her more options to choose from — therefore making it a harder question!
Enrichment for the animals can come in many different forms. There are items or stimuli we can add to the animals environment to add variability and encourage natural behaviors. Edible enrichment is something the otters seem to enjoy and they can have snacks while being enriched! Pumpkin is something that otters can eat as well as play with!
When introducing new items to the animals, we sometimes have to condition those items. This means to add value, which is typically done by pairing with food. You’ll see that we pair the pumpkins with some fishy treats for the pelicans!