The Creative Ways Disney Uses Technology for Animal Enrichment

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Animal Kingdom, WDW Blog

Disney provides animal enrichment year-round, encouraging animals to engage in natural behaviors. And Disney provided some particularly fun seasonal enrichment for the holiday season!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to hundreds of unique species of animals. The largest theme park in the world, Animal Kingdom is themed to the natural environment, and dedicated to animal conservation. With that in mind, the zoological park is dedicated to research and conservation efforts, ensuring they are enriching the animals’ lives and growing the species of endangered animals.

The teams at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are consistently innovating when it comes to animal enrichment, helping to encourage natural behaviors in the animals at the park. They recently showcased a few ways that they’ve used technology when it comes to animal enrichment.

How Disney Uses Animal Enrichment

Walt Disney Imagineering has collaborated with the animal care team to develop creative enrichment opportunities, using 3D printing, recycled items, and even motorized mechanics. If you watched the second season of Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Disney+, you may have seen their creation for the cheetahs at the park. The motorized cheetah ball was made with parts created using a 3D printer, and the ball helps to engage the cheetah’s natural instincts to hunt and run.

Photo by Aaron Wockenfuss/Walt Disney World

Another example of their work was creating a warthog-shaped ice sculpture covered in mud, designed to spark the curiosity of the lions. Since hunting is a major part of their natural behavior, this helps them to stalk, bite, and claw at natural prey, which looked as realistic as possible and smelled like a warthog as well.

Using Recycled Items

Along with using a 3D printer, the teams at Disney also upcycle items. An example of this is their use of recycled water bottles and coolers, which they turned into warthog feeders and fake “logs” to store treats for the primates.

disney animal enrichment

Photo by Aaron Wockenfuss/Walt Disney World

Old fire hoses were also given a new life, woven into different shapes for the rhinos.

Holiday Enrichment for the Gorillas

For the holidays, the gorillas were given a very festive form of enrichment. Guests were able to watch as gorillas opened wrapped presents with their favorite food inside.

disney animal enrichment

Photo by Aaron Wockenfuss/Walt Disney World

The presents included foods like oats, popcorn, alfalfa, carrots, and more. Since gorillas are natural foragers, this helps encourage natural behaviors to lift, open, and search inside. Plus, it’s a fun experience for the guests to see!

 

Posts by Morgan Flaherty

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Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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