As the storm clouds make way for a season of dewy twilights and chilly, gusty winds, spirits are high across Wildlife SOS teams all over the country. Halloween celebrations at Wildlife SOS have become an annual fall tradition that doubles as an entertaining delight for the rescued animals under our care. Our staff spend months crafting the purr-fect spooky enrichments using natural ingredients for the animals to merrily relish!
Our Sloth Bears at the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre and the Asiatic Black Bears in Jammu and Kashmir had a gala time ripping apart their jack-o-lantern pumpkins and devouring the honey-dipped treats hidden inside.
This year, we set up a pumpkin patch for the sloth bears so they could explore and choose their favourite treats. The curious bears went up to the display and picked up their own cherished pumpkins, playing with them and using their sharp claws to tear them open.
Young Maahi, who is an avid lover of pumpkins, pounced on his treat and picked it off its stem in excitement! The ever-curious Mithali spent some time frolicking with hers, trying to figure out the surprise that lay within.
Up north in Jammu and Kashmir, this was the first time our Asiatic Black Bears witnessed the Halloween festivities. It was very interesting to see their reaction to finding a pumpkin in their enclosure. Initially wary of the unfamiliar structures, all our bears instantly warmed up to the idea when they discovered hidden treats like apples and honey stuffed inside. Fancy examined her pumpkin treat with a curious eye, enthusiastically sniffing and licking the mysterious treat with an unmatched eagerness! Julie, Rosie and Sahib too were delighted to see the fun activities their caregivers had planned for them and spent hours frolicking with their new treats.
Over at the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre (MLRC) in Maharashtra, our resident leopards were mesmerized by the carved pumpkins perched up on trees and shrubbery. With their curiosity piqued, the big cats began examining the structure, biting and tossing the pumpkins around their fields.
Our ever-enthusiastic Jiya was quite thrilled to find the carved pumpkins perched upon the trees in her field. She rushed over to retrieve the pumpkin that was strategically placed on a small tree branch and retreated to her den to relish it in peace.
The MLRC team installed various carved pumpkins on different platform enrichments, even suspending them from tree branches. Ganesh was very excited to find a spooky, carved pumpkin suspended from his go-to branch and immediately pounced on it, ripping it apart on spot in a matter of seconds.
It’s no secret that our staff members look forward to the fun and excitement of creating these Halloween-themed enrichments each year. They spend weeks brainstorming entertaining and innovative solutions that are both engaging and nutritious for our rescues. Not just a fun activity, these enrichments is also helped the animals our rescues in staying physically and mentally stimulated.
The spook-tacular celebrations were heartwarming to witness. We wish our loyal supporters a very happy holiday season!