New York, Feb. 10 (Reuters): Female cheetahs at the Bronx Zoo in New York just love Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men.
No, they don’t dab their favourite perfume behind their ears, but they do enjoy rubbing up against tree stumps sprayed with it.
This is no New Age experiment in aromatherapy but part of a programme of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates New York City’s zoos and aquariums, to keep animals healthy and happy.
“We want to enrich the daily lives of the animals, both physically and psychologically,” Diana Reiss, senior research scientist at the Conservation Society and co-chairman of its Wildlife Enrichment Program, said. “Now we know we need to deal with the whole animal,” she said. “One of the ways we do that is offering our animals different kinds of scents to give them variety.”
The scents provide a way to stimulate the animals. Under the Wildlife Enrichment Programme, they also get to play with interactive toys and puzzles, learning to manipulate boxes to find a hidden toy or food treat. Research has shown that animals would rather work for their food than just be given it, Reiss said.
She said smell is essential to the lives of animals and an excellent way to introduce variety into the zoo environment. “With our cheetahs at the Bronx Zoo, we worked from inexpensive perfumes to expensive perfumes,” she said. “The one one they respond to the most is Calvin Klein Obsession for Men. But they also respond to inexpensive perfumes.” The wildlife workers test the response to various scents by spraying tree stumps with different perfumes or placing cinnamon or other spices in the animals’ environment.