Enriching The Lives Of Our Wildlife
When wildlife comes to Wild Baby Rescue Center, they are frequently here for a while. Tiny orphans must grow up until they can care for themselves. Injured animals must heal before they can resume their wild lives. While they are here we do all we can to keep their lives as interesting and as stimulating as possible. This is called enrichment. Ideally enrichment should also resemble tasks that the animal will encounter in the wild.
Dr. Lauren Bergy’s students at Centenary College in Hackettstown have made some amazing enrichment projects for our orphaned and recovering wildlife:
- The Digging Box – One student built a rectangular box with shelves and filled it with dirt. Our young Groundhogs learn to burrow and tunnel. It is by far the favorite enrichment of our Groundhogs.
- Fox Pond – Another student filled a plastic pond full of river rocks for our Fox/Coyote cage.
- Large Tubes – One project was a large cardboard tube trimmed with fir branches and pinecones. The Fox had so much fun with the tunnel that we decided to make the tunnel a permanent part of our cage. One of our supporters donated some large heavy duty plastic tubes (one for our fox, one for our groundhogs and one for opossum).
- Hammocks – Raccoon babies love hammocks. Jessie, one of our volunteers loves raccoons and spent a lot of time making sure that they had plenty to do, weather inside in crates or outside in our large pre-release enclosure. All the raccoons had hammocks. They bounced on them, hung upside down from them, cuddled up and slept in them.
- Toys – (particularly tambourines, rattles, and stuffed animals) Jessie scoured garage sales and brought the babies baby toys. The toys are rotated several times daily to keep the rambunctious raccoon engaged in play. They have ramps, nesting boxes, sliding boards, a jungle gym and even swimming pools.
- Swings – (for squirrels) One student made a swinging log for the squirrels. A hollowed out hole holds snacks of sunflower seeds and peanuts.