|Foreign Consultant of the Beijing Zoo|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/03/02 09:25 北京娱乐信报|
Carin，the Enrichment Consultant in Beijing Zoo, has been working in the Zoo for four years. Any animal constantly displaying stress behavior in captivity goes to the top of her animal list for having Home Improvements. An otter called Xin Xing meaning the new star became the number one on her hit list.
Carin told us that when she was a little girl, otter was her favorite animal. However, it made her sad to find a solitary otter in a small cage at Beijing Zoo four years ago.
Then, straight away Carin put Xin Xing onto the Enrichment teams’hit list and started the action. The first step was to line the drain area with small stones. This enables the keeper to hose the small stones covering the concrete without the stones washing into the drain. They then built the sand pit initially with bricks, covered the bricks with concrete and then put small stones into the concrete to keep the natural appearance. The use of root systems of an old tree gave the otter a place to play as well as increasing the naturalization.
At the end of the day when the area was finished Carin and her team members opened the gate and Xin Xing sniffed suspiciously at the door. Then bravely he entered. They all watched as his behavior changed from stereotypic and inactive behavior to a beautiful exhibition of natural exploratory behavior and delight. He explored and dug in his new sand area and finally curled up around his new plants as if he had at last found heaven. Carin says this future enclosure will be greatly improved in terms of environmental, behavioral and social enrichment for the lovely otter.
In fact, Xin Xing is not the only lucky guy that has been put on Carin’s hit list. During her four years working in Beijing Zoo, Carin has seen a lot of changes taking place there.
Carin says, in the West, the public now expect animal welfare to be of a good standard and zoos must show they are working towards conservation.
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