January 28, 2016
Tired of winter already? The Saint Louis Zoo has at least one inhabitant who loves the ice, snow and low temperatures—especially when he gets delicious treats buried in a 157-pound frozen wreath! The Zoo's polar bear Kali is enjoying some enrichment that tests his polar bear skills. With animal enrichment, keepers provide a stimulating life for Zoo animals, giving them opportunities to engage in natural behavior, be more active and have more control over their environments. Check out how the enriching wreath was made and the variety of foods it offers Kali.
The Zoo's Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center is led by Dr. Debra Schmidt, William R. Orthwein, Jr. Family Animal Nutritionist, who determines how much protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals each animal needs, and which foods best provide these nutrients. The center staff is always trying to offer a variety of foods that mimic the nutrition Zoo animals would get in the wild. Zoo animals typically eat better at the Zoo than they would in the wild, thanks to plentiful food and careful selection of a range of food to give them a balanced diet. It took a lot of ingenuity and muscle power to make the frozen wreath made of apples, carrots, oranges and romaine lettuce leaves and heft it over to Kali—but he showed his appreciation by throwing his weight down to enjoy the treats inside!
Original video posted to YouTube on January 8, 2016: