EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Zookeepers at the El Paso Zoo say enrichment time encourages the animal’s natural behavior. KTSM 9 News had the opportunity to see how the two pumas at the zoo get enrichment time, which happens about twice a day.
The two new pumas were introduced less than a year ago and zookeepers say they’ve been adjusting to seeing new people, as the zoo just reopened.
“They’ve adjusted really well. We got Scott in first and then Franklin after. We did introductions with them during the pandemic in this building behind me,” said Kori Ramos, a zookeeper. “They’ve done well. Now they are adjusting to the people now that we are open. They have almost a year with us, so it’s been going well.”
One of the unique things zookeepers add for the pumas are rings with animal urine.
“We have an enrichment cabinet. We have a bunch of spices and a bunch of different scents of animals and we also use things like feathers and fur, just to get their senses going,” said Ramos. “Enrichment encourages natural behavior so wolves are something they would cross in the wild and the scent is something they really enjoy. We can order them in little vials of each of those scents. We use them throughout the week.”
The El Paso Zoo said pumas are native to the Borderland.
“I have heard that people see them in the Franklin Mountains. I haven’t personally seen them here, but they do range from Canada to South America. Their distribution is one of the largest of the cats. So it’s possible to see them,” said Ramos.