Taronga Zoo Animals Enjoy An Early Christmas

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While most of you are still waiting to see you what surprises are in store for you this Christmas, some animals in Australia are sitting content and happy. That's because for them, the holiday came early this year!

Friday December 14th, began like any normal day for the residents of Sydney's Taronga Zoo. Then, something magical happened - Santa's 60 'elves' arrived, carrying brightly wrapped mysterious packages for each and every one of them

For Jumilah, the zoo's six-year old Sumatran tiger it was a colorfully wrapped cardboard box that she ripped open immediately - Inside, lay the juiciest, most delicious hunk of red meat. And of course, no holiday meal is complete without a decadent desert - which in her case happened to be a frozen milk treat shaped like a Christmas tree!

The zoo elephants also received some frozen treats - giant ice pops filled with fruit, while the kangaroos feasted on grapes and pinecones topped with peanut butter. They did have to share some of their treats with two-year old William, the Santa helper responsible for dishing them out. But, the animals didn't seem to mind!

The sun bears had some fun as they 'unwrapped' their gifts, which came in the form of pinatas filled with fruits and vegetables, whilst the giant tortoises paused for a minute to admire the watermelons carved like Christmas trees before devouring them! Mahale the Zoo's western lowland gorilla got to put his paws and face into several colorful buckets of popcorn - Too bad there was no movie to go along with it.

While all the animals had fun, it was the meerkats that seemed to enjoy the day the most. That's because they received paper toy houses that were packed with their most favorite treat in the world - Live crickets! YUM!

And, while the wrapping or carving may seem like a waste of time and resources, according to Dr. Melfi, the zoo's resident behavioral biologist, they were all created based on careful research and with a predetermined goal - To fulfill the animal's interest and inquisitiveness and provide them with as much environmental enrichment as possible. Judging from the reactions of the animals, it sure worked!

Resources:taronga.org.au, the australian.com.au

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