Virginia Zoo’s enrichment program focuses on keeping animals cool during the summer

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jul 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-05 20:17:53-04

It’s not every day you get to see a bear laying back and chilling out with a big ice cube to beat the summer heat.

These are the kinds of treats that keepers at the Virginia Zoo are giving to the animals here, to keep them healthy and moving.

Jill Tarrant is lead keeper of the Asia exhibit and she says it keeps them active, allows them to demonstrate some of their natural behaviors that they normally do.

Tarrant and the rest of the team will give treats in festive piñatas, bags, and even on ice to nearly every animal at the zoo Saturday.

It's all part of the zoo's enrichment program, a way to let the animals act like, well, animals by getting them to search for food like they would in the  wild.

So, to show us what it's all about, Tarrant tossed 4 bags filled with hay and mixed nuts to the sun bears.

And it didn't take long for them to find out what was inside.

"Like the bears here, we offer things for them to dig through and shred apart and things like that because that`s what normally they would be doing in the wild." Says Tarrant.