While all of Auckland Zoo’s animals play important advocacy roles for their wild counterparts, it’s important we enhance their behaviours and environments, encouraging them to act as they would in the wild. This can mean making them forage for their food, taking them for walks, changing up their environment, and giving them toys and puzzles that encourage them to play, think and use their strength.
Our seals have had a change of environment lately, thanks to creative seal keeper Odin and the exceptional seal team, who have found a purpose for an old boat well past its best before date!
As our seals age, our keepers are always looking at new ways to enhance and enrich their lives, especially ways that use their more prominent senses – physical touch and sound. With Kaiako’s low-vision, most of his visual training cues have evolved into verbal and physical cues, and our keepers ensure their environment is ever-changing with new objects, textures and obstacles, and with the encouragement of our keepers they learn that it’s safe to investigate and understand what these new things are.