TIMO feed box for Zurich’s Langenberg Zoo

Three of the six TIMO feed boxes in the wild cat enclosure of Zurich’s Langenberg Zoo have been in daily use since mid-March. The feed boxes are designed to imitate the process of natural foraging, and encourage the animals to take their own initiative before being provided with food. As in the wild, the animals are required to search out their nutrition and to make regular inspections of the area.

The box contains three trays of feed that can be controlled via a central timer, while feed portions are dispensed at specified intervals. The trays are kept in place with an electronic magnet, which also facilitates noise-free feeding. As soon as the feed falls from a tray, it slides down to the mesh-protected feed dispenser. This means that the big cats have to tear apart their dinner with their paws and teeth and then extract it in chunks. The feeding points are directly connected to the central power supply outside of the enclosure.

The wild cats in Langenberg Zoo appear to have been more active than usual since the boxes were introduced, not least because they undertake regular ‘patrols’ in order to check the machines. During these patrols, they observe each other with a measure of wariness and the head male has a habit of guarding one of the boxes. We will be following the ongoing behaviour of the wild cats in Langenberg Zoo with great interest, and we are thrilled that the new feeding concept is being well received by the cats.

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