Tuesday 26 September 2017

Halloween treats for park's stars

A meerkat enjoys a Halloween treat at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling
A meerkat enjoys a Halloween treat at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling
Dudley the lion investigates a pumpkin at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling
A dwarfed mongoose has a close look at a Halloween pumpkin at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park

Inquisitive safari park animals have been having some Halloween fun with pumpkins stuffed with their favourite treats.

Visitors gathered to watch as the meerkats curiously inspected three pumpkins packed with mealworms which had been placed in their enclosure by keepers at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, near Stirling.

Loki, the park's 10-month-old bear cub, ripped open a Jack-o-lantern hanging from a tree, causing its contents - scrambled egg - to spill out.

The park's youngest lion, Libby, who is just under a year old, used one of the pumpkins as a new toy, while her father, Dudley, sniffed out the meaty treats inside.

Two otters, named Harry and Sally, pushed a hollowed-out pumpkin into their pool and, after swimming alongside it, they discovered it contained chunks of chicken.

Dave Warren, education officer at Blair Drummond, said that while the activity is designed to be fun, it also helps the park residents' development.

"We've just been having a little bit of fun carving up pumpkins and putting some of the animals' favourite treats inside them, before dropping them into the enclosures for the animals to inspect," he said. "The animals are coming across something new so we're encouraging their curiosity and inquisitive nature to explore a foreign object within their enclosure.

"The pumpkins are seasonal, but when it comes to enriching the lives of the animals we do it on a daily basis. We try to get some form of enrichment into the enclosures every day to keep the animals occupied.

"It definitely draws the crowd, it gets visitors guessing as to what we're doing and they can see the purpose behind what we're doing. It's all a good bit of fun."

Visitors can tour the park until October 28, when it closes for winter. It reopens in March.

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