Baby Belt Feeders assist with the Semi-randomization method
Published on Mar 18, 2015

The Brookfield Zoo has become more innovative in the ways they provide food to their animal wild life. One innovative way is semi randomization feedings; this method is now widely accepted because as explained in the Chicago Tribune article ( animals will stay engaged with the environment and on the prowl for sustenance when feed is randomly dispersed, dropped, or scattered. Otherwise, they become comfortable, relaxed, and even lazy instead of using their born instincts to hunt and gather. PAES’ Aquatic Life Support team worked closely with The Brookfield Zoo on this vision to provide resources in a unique way throughout the animal exhibits. Here is an excerpt:

Keeper Nava Greenblatt brings in a couple of modified coolers, the same kind you might use to bring drinks to a picnic. But a rectangular segment of the bottom of each has been cut out so food can slide into the soon-to-be-filled river to feed the Asian small-clawed otters. The delivery mechanism is, once again, one of those modified belt feeders — the Pentair Aquatic Ecosystems 12-Hour Baby Belt Feeder, to be precise — sandwiched between blocks of blue ice to keep the food fresh. Greenblatt scatters a measured portion of frozen fish onto the belt, and the timing mechanism will move it forward to drop fish in at both expected and unexpected times.

After just a few short weeks of this method in place, the zoo keepers have witnessed an optimistic outcome. They have seen a lot more activity and their worries of “dominant animals getting the food first” have happily dissolved. As predicted by many, nature is running its course and the animals work it all out.