Wondering what to do with your Christmas tree now that the holidays are over? Why not donate your Christmas tree to AWCC!
Animals like Artemis the rescued muskox love to kick, head-butt, and nibble on Christmas trees that supporters donate to the center. Trees provide a great source of enrichment for a wide variety of animals here at AWCC. Elk love to charge them, moose love to chew on them, and reindeer love to kick them! They’re like giant, fluffy toys for our critters.
Enrichment is just as essential to animal welfare as proper nutrition and veterinary care. It enriches and stimulates an animal’s mind, body, and spirit in a variety of ways. Animal enrichment allows animals to demonstrate their natural behaviors, gives them the opportunity to exercise control over their environment, provides mental and physical activity, and enhances their overall well-being. We utilize five kinds of enrichment at AWCC: Sensory, environmental, dietary, novelty, and social.
Operant conditioning is very important in the world of enrichment. This is a type of learning in which an animal learns from its behaviors as it interacts with the environment. The likelihood a behavior will happen depends on the consequences that follow after that action is performed. When an animal performs a particular behavior that produces a favorable consequence, the animal is likely to repeat that behavior. At AWCC we utilize operant conditioning to train and build relationships with our wildlife. We also use this training for veterinary purposes. Vets are more easily able to visually analyze and assess an animal’s medical needs, reducing the frequency in which tranquilization is needed.
Please note that Christmas trees must be all-natural, untreated, and please be sure all decorations and tinsel has been removed. You can drop trees off any time from 10AM-3PM on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday this winter. Thank you for your support!