Rhinoceros Hornbill Puzzle Feeder Enrichment

Main Article Content

Hannah Salmon Jamie Rinderle Bradley Davidson Francis Russell


By Hannah Salmon, Mechanical Engineering; Jamie Rinderle, Mechanical Engineering; Bradley Davidson, Information Technology

Advisor: Francis Russell

Presentation ID: PM_ATRIUM20

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. 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 Rhinoceros Hornbill. The concept of a puzzle feeder was chosen as our project because it was discovered that these birds are highly intelligent, independently and as a team, and spend most of their days foraging for food in trees. The goal is to encourage their foraging habits and ability to work as a team, while also challenging their problem-solving skills. The puzzle feeder is designed in such a way that the birds can rotate pipes by pulling on ropes. In doing so, the cut-outs in each pipe will eventually match up, allowing the food inside to drop into the cavity of another PVC pipe. The hornbills now have access to forage for their food as they would in the wild.

Article Details

PM Poster Session -- Atrium -- Sustainability & Biodiversity