Inquiry to Innovation: Cincinnati Zoo Challenge Animal Enrichment Design for Malayan Tigers

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Andrea Vale Michael Hutchings Francis Russell


By Andrea Vale, Biological Sciences; Michael Hutchings, Industrial Design

Advisor: Francis Russell

Presentation ID: AM_ATRIUM27

Abstract: This interdisciplinary team design project was carried out during the spring semester of 2019 as a part of the UC Forward Inquiry to Innovation Class. Student teams collaborated with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to produce and test animal enrichment prototypes for use in the exhibits of fours species at the Zoo, including Malayan Tigers, Giraffes, Little Penguins, and the Rhinoceros Hornbill. Teamwork included researching species behavior, best practices in animal enrichment and animal exhibit design. Applied research included prototype design and fabrication and behavior observation of the prototypes in use by the animals. Enrichment opportunities for animals in captivity are intended to promote cognitive and physical development for the animal as well as to enhance the Zoo visitor's comprehension of animal behavior. Our project was designed for the Malayan tiger sisters. We worked in collaboration with zoo staff, keepers, and veterinarians to design an enrichment device to improve tiger well being and physical fitness, while meeting all safety concerns. The wobble platform has been created to provide an opportunity for the tigers to exercise more while in their indoor holdings. It can also be transferred to other habitats for the tigers or other large mammals. Increased physical activity is linked to increased happiness and health, something that the Cincinnati Zoo strives to achieve for all of their animals.

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AM Poster Session -- Atrium -- Sustainability & Biodiversity