Tessa Stripes is our newest animal keeper here at Carolina Tiger Rescue. She studied wildlife biology at Virginia Tech. Before coming to Carolina Tiger Rescue, she interned at Wildlife Safari. Her favorite animals to work with are tigers! She enjoys giving the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue a safe and appropriate home for them. It’s a hard and dirty job, but she loves it! Her favorite time of year at the rescue is the fall, when all the animals get pumpkins for enrichment!

Keeper Tessa’s Blog 5/11/20

Enrichment is vital for the health of captive animals. Enrichment keeps our animals physically and mentally stimulated, or active. It is anything that changes up an animal’s day and promotes natural and positive behavior. We will sometimes simulate hunting and promote the use of their senses by hiding food in a box so the animal must smell it out and “capture” it. We may do texture enrichment by giving them a mound of sand to feel and experience. Some animals, like Rajah Tiger and Magoo Ocelot, really love to get paint enrichment which let’s them explore new scents and textures. Today, we decided to do a bit of sight enrichment. Our animals had never before seen a unicorn in the sanctuary, so Keeper Cara made it happen! Some of them even practiced their natural stalking skills!

When we do enrichment, we watch the animals’ reactions and rate how well the enrichment worked. You can find a video of Rainbow Chuffles, the unicorn, visiting animals around the sanctuary here. Observe the different ways the animals react. India Tiger’s unimpressed reaction is very different from Carolina Tiger’s enthusiastic response. How did Anthony Leopard compare to Dylan Serval? You can try visual enrichment at home with your pets. How do they react to you crawling across the floor as opposed to walking? Tie streamers or colorful ribbon to a stick and wave it around – how do they like seeing the flowing colors? Be sure to track your pet’s responses with the Enrichment Log found on our Activities page. Have a ~*magical*~ week!