ANIMALS NAUGHTY AND NICE GIVEN TREATS AS WELL
THE Southern White rhinos charged at their keeper, but it was not the food she was holding that caught their attention – it was her festive attire.
Rhino keeper Kaelene McKay has been with Perth Zoo for 19 years and delighted Memphis – one of the zoo’s two rhinos – last week with the shiny tinsel she wore.
While she treated Memphis to fresh celery, Ms McKay said the rhinos were given a number of enrichment activities over the season to keep their senses sharp and their minds entertained.
“The rhinos get different animal scents put in their enclosures; we often put elephant poop in the enclosure,” she said. “It just encourages them to go around and spray their scent back on everything to mark their territory.
“In their travels in the wild they’d come across different animals, smells and food so we try to emulate that here.”
But Memphis’ favourite festive flavour isn’t found in the wild. “Memphis loves peppermint, so if you’re chewing some gum he’ll come right up to you and breathe at your face because he loves the smell,” Ms McKay said.
The zoo is open every day over the Christmas season.
CHRISTMAS is the time of year to treat yourself, enjoy the weather and swap presents, and it's no different for the resident animals at Perth Zoo. It is not a secret the zookeepers love to treat their furry friends, and over the festive season all creatures large and small get to indulge in holiday cheer. By KAYLEE MARTIN boxes were filled with some of their favourite foods including smashed fruit, vegetables and insects.
“To keep them mentally active and to make it take a bit longer we’ve stuffed the boxes with wood wool and each treat is individually wrapped in newspaper,” Mr Parker said.
To keep their intelligent minds entertained, Mr Parker said the baby orang-utans would be given toys such as swings and tyres.
“On the really hot days we’ve got little shell pools and we fill them with water as well,” he said.
“Sometimes we even give them a bubble bath for something special.” It’s still just celery for Memphis the rhino, but at least rhino keeper Kaelene McKay serves it with tinsel.
Manna founders John and Bev Lowe will be flat out preparing hampers for the homeless and needy during Christmas.