Sweet Sukari turns 10 today!
Happy Birthday Sukari!
I have also made a video from her Birthday Party!
My friend Lee and I were lucky to be doing Enrichments for the Big Cats when Sukari's Birthday came around. Sukari had come to the Zoo over six months prior but was still very shy and not seen very often. For every Enrichment Toy day before her Birthday, she was either seen peeking out at Tunya enjoying his Toys, or she would quickly snatch it and retreat to the cave. The first time, all we saw was her paw reach out and grab the Toy!
For her Birthday I wanted it to be special for her and something she would enjoy. It was time for her to be experiencing the fun of Enrichment Toy days. We needed to use this opportunity to draw her out of her shell (and the cave). The night before I thought about how she is always hiding in the caves, and thought by putting her Cake at the cave doorway, then when the Keeper would open the door she would at least see it before she ran. Hoping that by seeing it she would want it! The next day I told the Keeper about the idea I had, so she placed the Cake on the Lion House side of the cave door.
When she opened the door, there was Suki and she started to dash, then saw the cake and stopped. She turned around and sniffed it a few times, checking it out, and then snatched it and ran! Struggling to get it out of the cave, she pulled it through and took it to the yard! YAY! Suki!
By the time I ran out to the yard, her companion Tunya had already laid claim to it and was enjoying the bottom layer that was filled with Rhino scented hay :) Sukari came round and sat there staring at him like "hey, thats mine!" ... They were an awesome couple and share :) ... FYI we made Toys for all the Cats! It was Suki's Ice Cream Social! I will try to make a video of more of the fun! You can see photos here: http://gooberssfzoofriends.shutterfly.com/2499
After a Lion Dance, Suki snuck in and reclaimed her Cake and eventually went and retrieved the top layer and trotted off with it proudly! YAY! I was so proud of Sukari, for being out and taking part in her Birthday Party! That was a major turning point in her gaining confidence and feeling comfortable. It truly was a celebrations! She didn't hide anymore after that. She came out each week and enjoyed Enrichment Toys :) I'm glad that something I did helped her to feel more secure in her new surroundings.