Elephants are smart animals, and zookeepers have to create opportunities for mental stimulation and play.
â€œAnything we can add for them to give them a different experience for the day is really good for them,â€ said Dorothy Forman, a pachyderm keeper at the Oklahoma City Zoo. â€œIt gets their activity up. It keeps them physically fit and mentally active.â€
Zoo staff members create a lot of the toys elephants use, Forman said. For example, the elephants like scratching their backs against a brush off a street-cleaning truck. Keepers hide food inside a basket made of woven fire hoses. A rope net can hold hay and dangle from the ceiling.
â€œIt gives their trunks a good workout,â€ Forman said.