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Beijing Zoo to enliven animals before Olympics
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You traveled all the way, queued to get a ticket and elbowed through the crowds, and finally, there are the pandas, lying still and asleep.

To better enliven the animals and satisfy its visitors, Beijing Zoo has recently launched a campaign to enrich the living environment in animal enclosures by making changes to structures, presenting novel objects and smells for them to investigate and explore and changing the ways of feeding.

The project was aimed at creating a more nature-like environment for the animals, according to the zoo.

"For example, we would play hide-and-seek with some animals at mealtime to stimulate them to explore for potential food and fun and to interact with their surroundings," said Zhang Yizhuo, a zoo official in charge of the enrichment.

"It is good for visitors to see them moving around. More importantly, it's good for the animals themselves, both physically and psychologically, because in wild, most of them move to hunt for food all the time."

In the newly-erected Panda Hall, the eight "Olympic pandas" transported from the southwestern Sichuan Province, now had to bother to pluck the bamboo branches at mealtime which had been replanted into the earth.

Meanwhile, they were provided with wooden toy trees, a mural, a swimming pool and a lot of new toys designed by the zoo workers.

The enlivened creatures drew a larger number of visitors after the enrichment method was adopted, said a Panda Hall worker.

(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2008)

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