What Is Animal Enrichment?

What Is Animal Enrichment?

Posted by Connor Whelan on 22nd Feb 2016

A lot of the blogs we write here at The Great Projects include the word enrichment but unless you are already familiar with the world of animal conservation you may not know what it means. Luckily we are here to help and tell you all about enrichment and why it is needed for the animals at the rescue centres.

Orangutan Enrichment

Enrichment is the act of attempting to improve an animal’s life and care by identifying and providing the environmental stimuli necessary for their optimal psychological and physiological well-being. The goal of enrichment is to improve, or maintain at a minimum, the range of species-specific behaviours of each individual animal and to properly prepare them for their release back into the wild (if they are able to be released safely.)

The different types of enrichment stimuli can be broken down into six groups:

  • Environmental – This enhances the animals habitat at the rescue centre with opportunities which change or add to the environment
  • Feeding – Staff and volunteers will come up with creative ways to feed the animals, creating challenging ways for food preparation, replicating as best they can the work an animal would have to put in to get their food in the wild

Animal Enrichment

  • Manipulation – Providing animals with items that can be manipulated by the paws, feet, head and mouth which promotes exploratory play
  • Puzzles – This one is very self-explanatory as volunteers and staff will create puzzles which once solved release a treat for the animal
  • Sensory – This type of enrichment revolves around stimulating the animals senses: visual, olfactory, auditory, tactile and taste
  • Social – This is the type of enrichment which needs to be most closely monitored as it is the most unpredictable one of them all. Social enrichment gives animals the chance to interact with others of the same species and reinforce their natural behaviours

Sun Bear Enrichment

As you can see, enrichment comes in many different shapes and sizes and all of them are crucial to the animals who currently reside at the sanctuaries. You can take a closer look at the enrichment which is used at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo to gain a better idea of what is created for the Great Apes. Enrichment is crucial for the animals at the sanctuaries, and depending on where you go you may be asked to put on your thinking cap and help come up with a new idea to keep the Orangutans or Sun Bears stimulated! Staff are always looking for new ideas, so start thinking now!


Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.


Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.


Featured Blog Arcticles


Featured Videos


Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Discover The Great White Shark Project

Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.

Volunteers Review Their Experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

Latest Blog Arcticles


Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

After 2 difficult years, we finally welcomed volunteers...

Merle’s Orangutan Experience at Samboja

Merle’s Orangutan Experience at Samboja

Merle shares her experiences from her time spent...

An Invasive Species: The Lionfish

An Invasive Species: The Lionfish

Many invasive species have made their way to all corners of...

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

After a lot of hard work by the June 2022 volunteer group,...

The Latest From The Great Orangutan Project!

The Latest From The Great Orangutan Project!

The Great Projects volunteer coordinator, Jess, is...

An Update from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project!

An Update from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project!

Samboja Lestari welcomed back volunteers this month, and...

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy and Drew joined The Great Gorilla Project in January...

Raja Ampat Diving Project - Magical Manta Ray Moments!

Raja Ampat Diving Project - Magical Manta Ray Moments!

Manta ray season is at its peak at the Raja Ampat Diving...


Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987