Friday, January 28, 2011

the end

i am sad to report that the bear birthday party was the last time lee and i will be making enrichment toys for our zoo friends.

the current carnivore (cats and bears) curator (not keepers) has recently created unnecessary obstacles that have made it impossible to continue. one of the things she recently said was, "i have no interest in celebrating birthdays." for me, this is a completely disrespectful statement regarding acknowledging and celebrating not only the lives of these wonderful animals, but for those without which none of the zoo staff would have a job. who doesn't like birthdays? miserable people, that's who.

each time we had enrichment "toy" day, visitors were drawn to it. people love seeing the animals have fun. unfortunately the zoo management see's no value in such activity. the animals are given daily enrichment in a variety of different forms, but seemed to look forward to saturdays when we would arrive with toys! saturday toy days became known to regular visitors who like us and the keepers, got great joy out of seeing the animals have fun with this type of enrichment, which the lion house keeper calls "high yield" enrichment. enrichment we create brought excitement with different shapes and color stimulation and creates an energy level much like in the wild. who would want to take that away from these animals? miserable people, that's who.

it saddens both of us, as this was something we found great joy in doing for our zoo friends. for me, it was incredible to see a big cat or bear playing with something i made. seeing little annie bear carry one of my toys to her bed and add it to her nest is beyond words. the joy that it brought to their day is priceless. to see animals smile like they all have done while playing with enrichment toys we've made makes me cry.

thank you to everyone who enjoyed this blog and to those who came out to join the fun in person.


  1. kim, thanks for all your efforts in making the wonderful enrichment toys that were enjoyed by the animals and a few lucky people who happened to be there to see them. i sincerely hope management will see fit to invite you to keep making them and provide some support and compensation in the process. you and lee have helped create some incredible memories for animals and people alike.

  2. h- thankx for the comment and support. i'm glad you were able to be there many times to join in the fun! ... unfortunately that will never happen. all staff above keeper level except maybe the vets, see no value in this kind of enrichment on a regular basis. not for the animals enjoyment, not for the visitors experience.