Penguins at Newquay Zoo went wild over a new bubble machine, introduced by keepers as part of an ongoing programme to keep the birds mentally and physically stimulated.

The bubble experiment proved such a success that the Zoo has now decided to introduce twice monthly bubble sessions for the entertainment of both its animals and visitors. The sessions will start on Monday October 27th at 1.30pm at the penguin enclosure.

Animal Collections Manager John Meek said: “It was hilarious watching the penguins frantically waddling and swimming after the bubbles, trying to catch them. It was really entertaining for visitors too but more importantly it worked well as an enrichment tool which is a vital part of our animal welfare programme.”

Animal enrichment is used in all good zoos to provide the animals with mentally and physically stimulating experiences designed to encourage their natural behaviour and prevent them getting bored. Enrichment mainly consists of branches and foliage but other tools may include specially made toys, edible treats and food hidden in hard to reach places to make the animals search for it. Research has shown that enrichment programmes are as important for the well-being of zoo animals as a nutritious diet and good veterinary care.

The bubbles, which cause no harm to the animals, also proved popular with the Zoo’s Squirrel monkeys and Sulawesi crested macaques. The twice monthly bubble sessions will be trialled with the Zoo’s 19 penguins with a view to extending them to other animals.

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