December 6, 2023

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Lions, tigers, bears and pumpkins, oh my!

Now that Halloween’s more than, some of Grand Rapids’ most significant and fluffiest residents received the possibility to smash and chomp on big pumpkins at John Ball Zoo Friday.

The pumpkins had been donated to the zoo by Frederik Meijer Gardens, which made use of the big gourds as portion of its “Chrysanthemums and More” slide display screen. Now that Meijer Gardens is gearing up for the winter season holidays, they didn’t want the pumpkins to go to squander.

Soon after currently being cleaned up, the most important pumpkins ended up supplied to the chimpanzees, bears, lions and tigers.

“It’s actually entertaining to give them some thing they never get each and every day,” said Jamie Racalla, animal treatment supervisor at John Ball Zoo. “A great deal of instances, they get to do these natural enrichment points, but they enjoy to wipe out and get into issues.” at?v=q5sI3SQPmKo

The chimpanzees, whose ages selection from 24 to 53, quickly started off checking out the pumpkin in their enclosure, ultimately ripping it open and aiding them selves to handfuls of pumpkin.

“(The chimpanzees) get pumpkins each individual yr, but this is the very first time they’ve had 1 this major,” said Senior Zookeeper Bonnie Wilburn. “This one’s significant plenty of for them to sit inside and hang out. They started off eating it appropriate away, they seem to definitely like it.”

Boo Boo the bear, 28, also got straight to analyzing the pumpkin in her habitat, standing on top of the pumpkin and screening its strength.

“It just goes towards their psychological wellness,” Racalla said. “We have every day enrichment for them, but these special issues are just so pleasurable.”

Family members and zoo workers alike appeared on as the pumpkins achieved their match with claws, tooth and super toughness. Amur tiger Finn grabbed his pumpkin and dragged it all around like a pet with a bone.

“It seriously reveals their energy,” mentioned Zookeeper Paul Suplinskas. “(Finn) can decide it up with just his neck and jaws and in the wild, they could drag their prey. We like to see them hold their muscle tone.”

John Ball Zoo’s commissary supervisor Shakira Stowers stated that although large pumpkins are not usually on the food listing for the animals, they surely do go by way of a big sum of foods. Each 7 days, the zoo goes as a result of at minimum 120 lbs . of romaine lettuce, 100 lbs of sweet potatoes, 80 pounds of apples and many 40-pound situations of meat for the larger sized animals.

In all, Meijer Gardens shipped extra than 500 pounds of pumpkins and gourds to the zoo, which also had been specified to goats, sheep, cows, spider monkeys, tortoises and porcupines.

John Ball Zoo continues to be open to the community as a result of Nov. 20. Meijer Gardens is open up year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday.

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