Building a programme
Building an enrichment programme
Many institutions will already have an established enrichment programme. However, if your collection does not yet have an one set up or you are looking to update/modify an existing one, we have provided some examples of the different steps that may help to build a programme suitable for your collection.
Why build enrichment programme?
There are many benefits to having an enrichment programme, including:
Provides a guide for carers which may encourage the provision of more enrichment activities
Allows thorough documentation and evaluation of enrichment
Helps to track behaviours and combat stereotypies
What is the S.P.I.D.E.R framework?
Many enrichment programmes follow the S.P.I.D.E.R framework which we have used, along with useful resources found across the web, to create a programme suitable for a wide range of species.
S.P.I.D.E.R is a general guideline, consisting of 6 steps used to build and implement an enrichment programme based on behavioural goals.
Scroll through the following slides to view each step of the S.P.I.D.E.R framework
If you would like help or advice on any part of building an enrichment programme, contact us via email, through Instagram, or use the contact form on the homepage.
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A good enrichment program should be goal-orientated, as opposed to just throwing in a random item to 'keep an animal busy'. In general, enrichment should aim to increase animal welfare, but more specifically, enrichment may be used to encourage specific natural behaviours or to decrease the frequency of aggression and stereotypies. The first step in creating an enrichment programme is to set these behavioural goals, these may be very specific to a species or even an individual. It is important to understand the natural history of a species in order to set appropriate goals.
A few things to think about include:
What environmental conditions would they experience in the wild?
How would they interact with their habitat? Do they need to climb, hide, swim etc.?
Do they live in groups?
What is the size or composition of these groups?
Do they interact with other species?
Is the social structure stable or is there a lot of aggression?
How do they find food and how long would they spend foraging or hunting?
Does the species exhibit any unique behaviours in the wild?
How active should they be?
Are individuals displaying stereotypic or other undesirable behaviours?
Behavioural goals may be specific to an individual or a whole group. Observing behavioural patterns, perhaps through the use of a behavioural ethogram, is an important step in deciding which behaviours to encourage or discourage.
Below is an example of a table that could be used to record behavioural goals.
The full version of this document as well as our 'enrichment goals tracker' spreadsheet can be downloaded for free from the resources page.