According to Ash Howell, a spokesperson for the Wellington Zoo animals in New Zealand, life continues for the animals despite the increased use of technology to keep humans at a safe distance. However, if you were to walk through the city streets early in the morning, you would still hear two gibbons singing a duet.
Using Technology to Monitor Animals
During this confinement period, the zoo staff is kept to an absolute minimum. To ensure the animals’ health and safety, cameras were installed to monitor their behavior, in case any of the residents displayed symptoms of a potential health problem.
When a keeper or member of the nutrition team has a question about an animal, the initial consultation also takes place via video call. After speaking with the animal’s caretaker, observing the animal in action, and, if necessary, viewing recorded footage, the veterinarian can recommend treatment or come to the zoo to perform tests or manipulate the animal.
Are Animals Missing Visitors?
Due to the relative and unusual tranquility of the city, the sounds of exotic animals travel further than usual, and residents can hear an abundance of strange sounds they would not normally hear. This is certain to pique the interest of humans, but even the animals are curious right now.
Some of them appear to miss the daily influx of people they are accustomed to interacting with, while others appear to be conducting business as usual. The tigers appeared to be especially affected by the lack of visitors. Now, when the keepers arrive in the morning to work with them, they are significantly more attentive than before. However, they are not alone. Chimpanzees and otters appear perplexed as to why no one has come to watch them play.
Keeping Animals Active
Even without visitors, the staff remains busy caring for the animals. In fact, they take special care to occupy them when no one is present to observe their play. The zookeepers have implemented a variety of “behavioral enrichment activities” to keep the animals stimulated, and they videotape the animals when they are not present to ensure that they continue to play when no one is present.
These videos capture meerkats scurrying in a multicolored ball pit, dingoes interacting with otters through a glass barrier, and the Sumatran tiger bunny-kicking a ball. Seems like everyone is doing fine!