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Helping ZOO Animals Find the Fun

by Anne Miltenburg (2830 words)

Animals in captivity are sheltered from many of the dangers they would face in the wild, but are also deprived of the stimulation they would get by fighting to survive. Designers at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo are working to provide them with challenges that keep them happy and healthy.

Matthew Owens and Sarah Feliciano stand on a walkway at Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield ZOO, watching Sophia, an orangutan, cradling her two babies. ‘I call the animals our clients,’ says Owens, ‘and the orangutans are our toughest clients. ’ His colleague agrees. ‘They will tear something apart just to show you that they can,’ she says, with a laugh and the smile of a designer who appreciates a challenge, the challenge of designing for animals, to be exact.

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