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Uploaded:2014-07-03
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Jessi explains what Behavioral Enrichment (BE) is, why it is necessary for animals in captivity, and shares some examples of how it is implemented at Animal Wonders.

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Welcome back guys, today we're gonna be talking about behavioral enrichment. Now I know a lot of you guys really enjoy sensory stimulation like music and books and puzzles and air fresheners and perfumes and soft blankets and delicious food--   Augusto: That should keep you busy   Well so do animals. So when an animal is living in captivity, it's their caretaker's complete responsibility to cover everything that's gonna make them happy and healthy. So when I say an animal living in captivity, it's any animal that's not living in the wild. So I'm talking about zoos and sanctuaries and aquariums and rehabilitation centers, even private ownership. So the dog or cat that you have at home, that animal is living in captivity.   So lets talk about how we can make our animals the happiest and healthiest that they can be. Lets talk about behavioral enrichment.   Now behavioral enrichment is also called environmental enrichment and these are things that you give animals in captivity that are gonna help stimulate their senses and this is going to promote happy, healthy, natural behaviors. That's really important for these animals it's very important husbandry practices when you have a large number of animals to care for; it's also important when you do have just one animal.   If you have a dog, it's actually pretty easy to give them proper behavioral enrichment. We have these huge stores that you can just walk in and you can get toys and leashes, and you can go for walks with them and play fetch with them. You have all these different arrays of props that you can use to promote those natural behaviors.   And if you're a cat person, It's also pretty easy to provide them with behavioral enrichment. You have cat scratchers, you have catnip toys, laser pointers, even a kitty litter box, all those are going to provide them the proper stimulation.   All these things you can give dogs and cats, you can also give to all the rest of the animals in the animal kingdom. Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste: the senses. All of those things are going to promote natural behaviors. So are mental and physical tasks. This is going to keep your animal healthy and happy.   When an animal in captivity isn't provided the right kind of enrichment they're going to start displaying neurotic behaviors, and these can include things like: aggression, head rolling, self mutilation, over grooming, and stereotypical behaviors such, pacing and repetitive vocalization.   So animals in the wild are going to constantly be stimulated; they're going to be trying to find food and water, evade predators, find shelter, find mates. All of those things are going to really preoccupy their time. So in captivity we're going to try and supplement. Make sure that they don't get bored, basically.   So I would love to share some of the behavioral enrichment that we give our animals. And we'll give them, give the cavies this. Oh, yay! Oh that's awesome! That's perfect.    Get it! [Bird squawks] Get that toy.    Behavioral enrichment can also be, uh, training, and so we're training Ecuador, the Jenday Conure to accept other people holding him, so, go ahead and present your finger.    He steps up, we give him a treat. And then the person that is holding him, also rewards him. Good boy. Come on back, bud. He says I like you better.    And we are also working on a behavior where he's going to turn over backwards, so he already knows that he can tip over forward, but we're working on one where he tips over backwards!    [Mechanical bird sings a tune.]    So you can see that behavioral enrichment can be all sorts of different things! And my favorite description so far is how one of our viewers put it:    "Behavioral enrichment is just kind of like 'messing about.' " And that's my favorite kind of messing about.    Thanks for watching Animal Wonders Montana; if you love animals and you want to learn more about them subscribe to our channel and go on an adventure with us every week. In the mean time, if you have any questions or comments you can find us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. Links are below.    Augusto: There you go. [Laughs.]     Hi guys, welcome to Animal Wonders, I'm going to start off with a question! What is your first reaction when you see this? If...   Augusto: I just ate the whole thing. [Laughs.]