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University of Rhode Island — Animal & Veterinary Science
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Enrichment
Description

With society's growing concern for the ethical treatment of animals, animal facilities have recognized the need for ways to address the well-being of captive animals.

Sometimes captive animals exhibit abnormal behaviors as a consequence their captivity. For many endangered species their success in captivity is vital to their continued existence and zooís and aquariums have recognized that captive animal behavior needs to be at the forefront of the their animal welfare agendas. As a result, zoos and aquariums have developed "enrichment" as a way to enhance the physical and psychological well-being of their captive animals. Enrichment is defined as any modification of, or addition to, a captive animalís environment that is created to elicit the animalís natural behaviors. Federal regulations have made enrichment a mandatory part of captive animal management and many zoos have created enrichment programs that address issues of:

  • animal well-being,
  • behavioral monitoring, and
  • enrichment development.

Researchers and zookeepers alike are working toward ways to develop and assess enrichment programs to create a healthy environment for their captive animals.

For more information on enrichment, visit the links listed below: