Without guests visiting the Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, England, zookeepers were desperately trying to find ways to keep their feathered residents entertained and enriched.
Zookeepers didn't have to look any further than their patron's donations, however, as one zoo patron had donated a bubble machine, and the rest was history...
The bubble machine was a hit. One of the penguin's caretakers said that it helped keep the penguin's predatory reflexes sharp.
“In the wild, these guys are marine predators who are very sensitive to objects and movement,” said Trevelyan. “The bubble machine is fantastic, as all the movement and new shapes and colors really stimulate these guys. They have a great time chasing them around. And all these donations are really appreciated.”
The bubbles cause no harm to the animals and have been used in the past to occupy the squirrel monkeys and the Sulawesi crested macaques at the zoo.
Enrichment of this nature is arguably just as important for the animals' well-being as is a nutritious diet and veterinary care. Prior to COVID-19 closures, the penguins at Newquay were entertained with feeding shows and guests visiting the zoo, but their routine had to change a bit, and luckily, their donated bubble machine proved to be just the answer they were looking for in these bizarre times.