Behavioral enrichment also called environmental enrichment is an animal husbandry principle that seeks to enhance the quality of captive animal care by identifying and providing the environmental stimuli necessary for optimal psychological and physiological well being. The goal of environmental enrichment is to improve or maintain an animal’s physical and psychological health by increasing range or number of species-specific behaviors, increasing positive utilization of the captive environment, preventing or reducing the frequency of abnormal behaviors such as stereotypical behaviors, and increasing the individual’s ability to cope with captive challenges.
Over the course of the 2.5-month study period at the Wolong Breeding Center, researchers found that pandas were significantly more active, and displayed a greater variety of behaviors when enrichment was present. Even better, this effect was maintained even when pandas were not interacting directly with an enrichment item, suggesting that enrichment had a motivational carry-over effect.
Pandas International has a goal of providing every enclosure at Bifengxia and Wolong with enrichment items. Currently there are a total of 58 enclosures at Bifengxia and there are 59 planned enclosures at the new Wolong Center. Each enclosure will be given a jungle gym and an assortment of balls and other toys with your help. Pandas of all ages truly enjoy climbing and swinging on a daily basis. With the help of our generous supporters, we know that we can truly make a difference in the lives of all of our captive Giant Pandas this year.