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Sumatran Tiger Photo: Bryan Thompson

The Honolulu Zoo's Animal Environmental Enrichment Program

The goal of the Honolulu Zoo's Environmental Enrichment Program is to involve all staff members; including keepers, curators and volunteers, in a zoo-wide program of effective environmental enrichment. We try to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare, where animals are healthy, active and exhibit a wide diversity of behaviors. Enrichment is becoming part of daily animal care on par with feeding and cleaning.

Animal Enrichment Environmental enrichment improves or enhances zoo environments for animals, stimulating them to investigate and interact with their surroundings. We enrich animal environments by making changes to structures in their enclosures, presenting novel objects and smells for them to investigate and explore, and by changing how we present food to them. Doing all of these things alleviates boredom by giving animals more choice of activity. It encourages them to forage, hunt and handle their food in ways that are natural to them in the wild. The traditional method of feeding zoo animals out of a feed pan does little to stimulate complex feeding behaviors. Enrichment keeps zoo animals active and interested in their environment.

For these reasons, enrichment improves animal welfare. It also enhances the public's experience of animals. And, for the endangered species we breed in the zoo, enrichment can help reduce stress and promote successful reproduction.

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Animal Enrichment