Environmental Enrichment

Zebra facing rhinos in a zoo mixed species exhibit

Although the Animal Welfare Act only requires environmental enrichment programs for nonhuman primates in regulated facilities, many zoos and aquariums are incorporating enrichment into the husbandry routines for all animals. In this section, you will find resources with information on providing environmental enrichment to animals housed in zoos and aquariums.

Enrichment resources for specific species can be found under Exhibit Animal Species. Additional enrichment resources can be found in the Research Animals section of this Web site.

Search for Scientific Literature on Environmental Enrichment

Click on the following resources for scientific literature about environmental enrichment.

USDA Perspective on Environmental Enrichment for Animals (PDF | 275 KB)

ILAR Journal.

This article provides a brief history of the 1985 Animal Welfare Act (AWA) amendments and information on implementation of the regulations regarding exercise for dogs and environmental enhancement for nonhuman primates.

A young gorilla eating leaves Animal Enrichment Program

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Provides information about an enrichment framework used to devise enrichment programs. Includes an introduction to enrichment and steps to set up and evaluate an enrichment program.

The Shape of Enrichment's Safety Database

Shape of Enrichment.

This database allows you to search by animal taxa, enrichment device/materials, and hazard.

Giraffe baby in zoo A Keeper's Guide to Evaluating Environmental Enrichment (PDF | 53 KB)

British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Information for zoo keepers on developing enrichment goals, evaluating enrichment programs, measuring behavior, and analyzing results.

Animal Training

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

This web site outlines animal training programs and provides information on what training is, how animals learn, and how behavior can be shaped using positive reinforcement.

The Shape of Enrichment, Inc.

The Shape of Enrichment was founded in 1991 as a partnership to further animal enrichment efforts worldwide. Articles written in the quarterly publication are dedicated to exchanging enrichment ideas among animal caretakers. Past articles include enrichment techniques for exotic pigs, large ungulates, and a variety of bird species, as well as many other animals.

Zoo Animal Welfare Boosted by Environmental Enrichment, Positive Reinforcement Training

American Veterinary Medicine Association.

This article discusses the idea of positive reinforcement training and enrichment improving an animal's welfare.

Managing Animal Behaviour through Environmental Enrichment with Emphasis in Rescue and Rehabilitation Centres

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

A publication aimed to evaluate the use of environmental enrichment for rehabilitating confiscated animals, with an emphasis on Latin American rescue and rehabilitation centers.