Intern’s Vickie and Rachel finished up their semester with us last week. We will miss them– and all their help. Part of the work of their semester was doing a scientific research project on animal enrichment. They chose to do something for Dusty and Dallas, our Miniature Hereford Cattle. The purpose of their project was to increase locomotion and have the cattle utilize the entire exhibit area by increasing activity levels. The hypothesis was with the introduction of a PVC hay Roller the cattle would move through the entire habitat, creating increased locomotion and decreased inactivity.
Lots of conversation and meetings with the Keepers occurred to make sure a safe and effective product was created. Repeat visits with our Exhibit’s staff and to stores for just the right materials took a great deal of time.
The project was a success! Rachel and Vickie learned about doing research, data gathering; creating and working on a hypothesis; building enrichment, working as part of a team, and so much more. AND… the cattle got a new enrichment item that we’ll use indefinitely. It’s an added bonus too, that the cattle moved through their yard more when the roller was in use!