Meerkats and ring-tailed lemurs kicked off their Easter celebrations today with special feeding sessions at the Perth Zoo.
The meerkat mob had breakfast Easter eggs filled with meal worms, while the lemur males tucked into paper mache parcels stuffed full of fruit, nuts and vegetables.
Gimaro, the lemur dad, as well as twin brothers Vato and Akondro, were put to the test with complicated puzzles to access the food.
Supervisor of Zoology Holly Thompson said the challenge of breaking the parcels and finding the food is crucial for learning how to problem solve.
“Curiosity is important for any creature, and part of our enrichment program we’re constantly ensuring every day is different,” she said.
University of Western Australia zoology professor Don Bradshaw said the program sounds good in theory, but isn’t likely to enhance their quality of life.
This program will continue throughout the Easter period, and allows the animals to feel like their natural instinct of hunting and foraging for food is being utilised.
“Obviously the most ideal thing for the animals is to be put back in the wild, but anything to enhance their behavioural enrichment is worth trying,” he said.
“I wouldn’t guarantee that this program would actually help the animals, it sounds more like an experiment – but it is important to keep experimenting.”
With the school holidays well and truly underway, the program is sure to attract many visitors over the next two weeks, as more Easter festivities are on display.
Families will also be able to follow an Easter egg trail which includes seeing several egg-laying animals, including the Pygmy Python, Little Penguin and the echidna.