Singapore, 23 December 2010 – Animals at the Fragile Forest at the Singapore Zoo enjoyed a touch of festivity during their environment enrichment session yesterday. Resident lemurs, the ring-tailed lemur and black and white ruffed lemur, which are native primates of Madagascar, had early Christmas treats as keepers distributed raisins, sunflower seeds and fruit in colourfully-wrapped presents, crackers and stockings.

Environmental enrichment provides animals with the required mental and physical stimulation, e.g. opportunities for problem solving through natural behaviour, to minimise stress associated with living in a captive environment. This reduces the occurrence of repetitive and destructive behaviour, and encourages an increased level of wellbeing.

Animals at the zoo receive a minimum three sessions of enrichment each week.

The popular Fragile Forest exhibit features a rainforest and mangrove environment, and is also home to animals such as mousedeer, two-toed sloths, fruit bats, butterflies and a variety of birds such as crowned pigeons, red lories, eclectus parrots and red-shouldered macaws.

All Cracker-ed up: Christmas arrives early for Boey, a black and white ruffed lemur from Singapore Zoo’s Fragile Forest, as it inspects a Christmas cracker filled with chopped bananas, grapes, watermelon and papaya during an animal enrichment session.

Pass the carrot (nose): A ring-tailed lemur residing in Singapore Zoo’s Fragile Forest inspects the edible nose of its new friend, a snowman. The snowman was constructed as part of an animal enrichment session conducted for the lemurs. (The lemur subsequently chomped on the carrot!) These sessions aim to simulate environments for wildlife living in zoos and wildlife parks to display their natural instinct and enhance their well-bring.

Leaf the present opening to me: Two young ring-tailed lemurs at Singapore Zoo’s Fragile Forest gleefully take apart a present filled with chopped fruit, raisins, sunflower seeds and leaves during an animal enrichment session. The Christmas package encourages the lemurs to use their natural instincts to obtain the treats inside, honing their motor and sensory skills.