The Oakland Zoo is taking part in a pilot program that promises to
provide some much-needed fun and games for animals including a 100-year-old "football" loving tortoise.
The One World Futbol Project's "Zoo Seconds" program will donate
soccer balls that are designed to be nearly indestructible for use in animal
enrichment programs, zoo officials said.
Zoo animals get mental stimulation and physical activity by
playing with balls and other toys, but it has been difficult to find toys
that "hold up under the pressure," said Margaret Rousser, the zoo's
Ralph, the zoo's 100-year-old Aldabra tortoise, likes to lay right
on top of the soccer ball, Rousser said. The donated One World Futbols, which
are made to survive rough environments without ever popping or deflating, can
take the abuse.
"It is particularly difficult to find an enrichment item that can
withstand the weight of a 600-pound tortoise, and it's even more difficult to
find something that a 100-year-old animal will become actively engaged in,"
Other zoos participating in the pilot program include Zoo Atlanta,
Blank Park Zoo in Iowa, Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, Central Florida Animal
Reserve, Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii, Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa, the
Louisville Zoo in Kentucky and A Leg Up Pet Services in Canada.
By donating an item on Oakland Zoo’s "Wish List," you can provide needed supplies and materials that enrich the environment for the animals and support the Zoo's many research programs and activities. http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Donate_Goods
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