World Animal Day is celebrated on October 4 annually and was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy. October 4 was originally chosen for this event because it is the feast day of a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment, Francis of Assisi. This year, the Emperor Valley Zoo observed World Animal Day by featuring an educational animal exhibit and petting zoo! On this date, the zoo’s animals were also treated with special enrichment activities.
Zoo visitors, including primary level students had an amazing opportunity to interact and learn about both local and exotic animals including turtles, tortoises, snakes, rabbits, guinea pigs, a blue and gold macaw and a red-tailed squirrel. Children were overwhelmed with excitement as they partook in fun educational animal games.
As part of the zoo’s Animal Enrichment Programme geared towards enhancing the lives of their captive animals, many species including tayras, green monkeys, red howler monkeys, mandrills, macaws and parrots were provided with special activities, treats and presents. This programme is aimed at keeping the animals occupied mentally and physically so that stereotypic behaviour is avoided.
This event was coordinated by Zoological officer Sharleen Khan and Biologist Ashana Gibran with assistance by Trainee Outreach Program Assisstant, Rajin Gopie.