How we care for our animals
In a perfect world, animals wouldn’t need to be kept in zoos at all. But the reality is different. Some species are today so endangered that there is a risk they will disappear in the wild. So it’s necessary to keep back-up populations of certain species in enclosures to ensure their survival.
When we keep an animal in a zoo enclosure, we’re assuming a great responsibility, and it’s our duty to see that the animals have a good life. When it comes to looking after animals, we talk about the four pillars: nutrition, behavioural management, veterinary care and enclosure design.
All animals must obviously eat, and this is about what food we give them. Animals should get all the nutrients they require, and their diet should be as close as possible to that in the wild.
An animal’s behaviour is important for its wellbeing. We work actively with enrichment. Our keepers have different ways of encouraging natural behaviour. Often, it doesn’t take much: a sack of wool can keep a wolverine busy for several hours. Hanging a tiger’s food in a tree means it has to use both its head and muscles to get to the food, providing more stimulation than simply serving it up in a bowl.
Nordens Ark has two veterinarians attached to the park, as well as a full-time veterinary assistant. We have our own veterinary clinic where we can care for sick or injured animals.
We build and furnish our enclosures so that our animals can behave in as natural a way as possible. We look at how the species lives in the wild and try to design the enclosure to mimic this.