3:58 Sarah shares her experience from attending the Shape of enrichment workshops held at Wellington Zoo in 2014 and about the process of enrichment she learned about there.
9:37 Sarah talks about the importance of goal setting when coming up with new enrichment ideas.
13:15 Sarah and I discuss a specific example, using all the information she has talked about up until this point with a serval at the Wellington Zoo wildlife hospital (The Nest – Te kohanga).
16:43 Sarah talks about how to measure if your new enrichment has been successful with not in relation to your goal.
19:29 Sarah and I talk about the importance of safety when implementing new enrichment items with your animals for the first time.
22:42 Sarah shares some great stories from her experiences and some important lessons that she learned along the way.
26:12 We discuss Sarah’s vision for the future and what she would like to see happen in the next 5-10 years with regards to enrichment.
Sarah Van Herpt (Wellington Zoo).
Sarah is a life-long learner, and has a few different degrees under her belt! Sarah studied as an undergraduate at Massey University, New Zealand (BSc, Ecology and Zoology) as well as completing a Masters degree (MSc, Conservation Biology) from the same university. During her studies it really hit home that her passion was animal behaviour. Sarah Master’s looked at how we can combine behaviour with conservation outcomes, looking at the native New Zealand kokako song and how it changes in the presence of multiple dialects, or languages.
After Sarah completed her studies she was lucky enough to get a job at Wellington Zoo, where she has been for the past 7 years. Although Sarah considers herself a “bird-nerd” at heart, she has looked after many different species including primates, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, small carnivores and hoof-stock. Sarah also did a 2.5-year stint as a vet nurse after training and obtaining a certificate in Veterinary Nursing whilst working as a zoo keeper at Wellington Zoo.
Throughout Sarah’s time as a keeper she has become really interested in enrichment. Sarah has run enrichment projects and committees throughout Wellington Zoo, and in 2014 teamed up with the Australasian society of zoo keeping to bring the shape of enrichment workshops to New Zealand. These workshops had Valerie Hare, one of the co-founders of Shape come and personally deliver the workshops at Wellington Zoo. In 2015 Sarah was awarded a Shape of Enrichment grant to talk at the 15th International Conference on Environmental Enrichment in Beijing, China.