Dr. Chloe Wilde is our wildlife biologist. She studied ecology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her favorite topic of study is conservation. Dr. Wilde is passionate about learning about and teaching others about how they can help wild cat populations, including reducing their use of products with palm oil in them. Though Carolina Tiger Rescue does not have any, Dr. Wilde’s favorite animal to study is the clouded leopard.

Dr. Wilde’s Blog 3/8/19

Have you ever heard of a kinkajou? Not many people have. You may know a relative of the kinkajou, though – the raccoon! Like raccoons, kinkajous are foragers and search for their food. We try to feed our resident kinkajous, or kinks, in ways that let them forage like they would in their natural habitat.

Kinks are small mammals that live in Central and South America. They are nocturnal, or most active at night. In the picture to the right, Albert Kinkajou was sleeping the day away but woke up and poked his head out to get a treat.

Each of our animal’s diets is built for them. For example, our bigger tigers eat more than our smaller tigers and our coatimundi eats different food than our caracals. Albert and the other kinks are frugivores, which means they feed almost entirely on raw fruits, vegetables, roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds, although they will eat small animals. So, our kinks get mostly fruit in each meal, along with a couple vegetables and a protein. The kinks at Carolina Tiger Rescue eat daily and each meal weighs from half a pound up to a pound.

If we simply dropped the kinkajous’ meals down food chutes, would they be able to forage? No! We must get creative to meet the foraging needs of our kinkajous. I went out with Keeper Stripes to feed Albert and see how we do this. Albert got three different types of feeding mechanisms today. In the picture to the left, Keeper Stripes is holding up a sliding door that Albert must lift in order to grab food, this time a green bean, out of the pipe. This pipe is hung on the outside of the enclosure wall so Albert must reach through and forage. We also put food inside of paper towel or toilet paper tubes and slid them into the holes of the enclosure wall. He must find each roll and rip the food out of them. The last bit of food was put into a tray that hangs on the outside of the enclosure wall so, again, Albert must find the food and reach through for it.

Part of me wishes my food was given in all these interesting ways but I am not a natural forager so I’m sure Albert and the other kinkajous enjoy it more than I ever would!