Petrichment = pet enrichment. The Associate of Zoos and Aquariums defines enrichment as "enhancing animal environments within the context of the animals' behavioral biology and natural history." This basically means providing stimulation (intellectual, social, & emotional) to allow an animal to do what it's programmed to do. Enrichment for animals has long been an integral part of my life, and I'm happy to have a place to share the latest news, trends, and studies on providing animal enrichment.
I want Petrichment to be a resource for people who care about and for animals. Whether it be companion animals, wildlife in captivity, or other species that touch our lives, keeping their lives enriched is essential.
Awareness of pet behavioral problems has been on the rise. I believe boredom and misunderstanding is often the root of the problem. This issue of boredom extends to wildlife in captivity as well. It's true that by keeping wild animals in captivity, humans have provided for their nutritional and medical needs while eliminating stressors like predators. However, in the process we've taken away much of what makes life worth living- using the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain daily to solve problems and have dynamic relationships as part of a balanced life.
Our companion animals still retain many of the natural behaviors and impulses of their wild ancestors, and are equally susceptible to the consequences of a lack of environmental enrichment. Petrichment aims to enrich the lives of the animals we keep, because they already do so much to enrich ours.
about the author
Nina Farley has an MS in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She currently resides in New England and works for an animal welfare nonprofit. She has two cats and two dogs, all rescues.