World Animal Enrichment Day: Sharing ideas for our animals health - 12th November 2021

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Ruffle Snuffle® owner and Animal Behaviourist, Sarah-Jane White, founded World Animal Enrichment Day to help raise awareness and encourage every pet owner and animal keeper to share their love and enrichment ideas for animals.

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What is animal enrichment?
Animal enrichment is the process of providing animals with mental and physical stimulation to enhance their well-being and quality of life by allowing them to express their natural behaviours.

Why is enrichment important?
Enrichment helps all animals stay happy and healthy whether they are pets or in captivity in zoos and rescue centres. Enrichment helps reduce the risks of health problems that often occur in captive animals. It also makes the animal more comfortable and less stressed, which makes it easy for them to be cared for and handled.

The enrichment that is given depends on the individual animal, particularly on its natural behaviour in the wild. For example, lions are territorial animals so they will appreciate dens where they can withdraw if they feel threatened. Smaller animals might need something to climb or perch on because they naturally do this in the wild.

Enrichment makes life better for all animals, both domestic and in rescue centres or zoos.

What are some examples of enrichment?
There are many different types of enrichment available. Some examples are:
Enclosures which have more space than usual so that the animal has room to move about more freely.
Different toys or objects to explore.
Different scents or smells, such as spices, different types of grasses and flowers.
Colours in the environment which are brighter than usual.
Mirrors so that the animal can see its reflection and 'interact' with it (for example tigers sometimes like to watch themselves)
Different structures in the environment, such as logs, rocks or trees.
Swings or ropes for animals who like to climb or perch.
Extra enrichment during feeding time so that the animal has to work for their food.

What else can you do?
Whether you have a budgie, snake, dog, cat or tortoise, animal enrichment is an important part of your responsibility as a pet owner. You can help keep your pet happy by giving them regular exercise so that they have the opportunity to explore, climb or dig.

Provide appropriate shelter which is secure but also has components that are interesting for your pet to look at and interact with. When you are handling your pet, always remember that different animals have different temperaments so handle them calmly and gently to avoid scaring them.

Keepers, Staff and Volunteers at Zoos, Wildlife Parks, Sanctuaries and Rescues spend many hours providing enrichment to animals in captivity to ensure they are stress-free and having the best life they can. There are lots of examples you can find online to inspire ideas for your own wild enrichment.

Here at Ruffle Snuffle®, we have provided enrichment toys not only for pets, but for many zoo animals including primates, birds, big cats and even giraffes.

How to take part in World Animal Enrichment Day
Share your ideas : We’d like people to be creative and share their favourite enrichment ideas for their animals such as toys, games, DIY, environment.
Post a photo or video on social media: Share a photo or a 'how-to' on social media and use the hashtag #worldanimalenrichmentday.
Provide enrichment for others: Why not take some enrichment games to your local animal rescue centre, or volunteer at your local zoo?

Ideas for enrichment:
Physical: Exercise, games, sports
Social: New faces and new places
Cognitive: Puzzles, Brain Games
Environment: Homes, cages, aviaries, enclosures
Sensory: Taste, smell, hearing, touch, seeing
For Pet ideas visit: http://www.rufflesnuffle.co.uk
For Wild animal ideas visit: http://www.wildenrichment.com

Website and social media links:
Official hashtag: #WorldAnimalEnrichmentDay
Contact Details: Sarah-Jane White, Ruffle Snuffle® –
sarah@rufflesnuffle.com
Official Website: http://www.rufflesnuffle.co.uk/world-animal-enrichment-day-november-12/
Free Graphics to download: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1c4wMZJXHGp4sg7_9yBrUv5Ftfiv2cTFy

World Animal Enrichment Day is an annual day that happens on the same date every year - 12th November, make sure you put it on your calendar.

Resources
Here are some helpful links to enrichment studies with ideas and information:
https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/animal-enrichment
https://www.thezooscientist.com/papers-enrichment
https://wildwelfare.org/enrichment-animal-welfare/

About Sarah-Jane White
Sarah-Jane White, 51, is an Animal Behaviour & Enrichment Expert. She lives in Norfolk with her family on a small farm. Her mission is to help pet parents use enrichment for a happy and fulfilling life together. Sarah-Jane regularly shares ideas that support the instinctual behaviours of their pets in safe, fun, and enriching ways every day. She run’s award winning business Ruffle Snuffle® and her UK Top 10 ‘Life With Pets’ Blog. She regularly volunteers for the Zoological Society of East Anglia at Banham Zoo.

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Sarah-Jane White
@RuffleSnuffle
since: 01/2016
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