FEB 05, 2014 09:00 AM PST

Going Back to Nature: The Benefits of Wood Enrichment

  • President, Bio-Serv, USA
      Began her career in the laboratory animal field in 1985 working at Squibb (now Bristol Myers Squibb) as a laboratory animal technician and over her nine years there, was promoted to facility manager. She left Bristol Myers Squibb to attend veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 were she graduated Summa Cum Laude. In 2004, she had the opportunity to return to the research community by serving as President (and Veterinarian) of Bio-Serv. She works with a great team of individuals who provide the research community with wide variety of superior products that benefit the health and well-being of laboratory animals.


    Environmental enrichment can be defined as altering the living environment of captive animals in order to provide opportunities to express more of their natural behavioral repertoire. The challenge of providing effective enrichment in laboratory species is to ensure it allows for normal behavioral opportunities. For many animals, these behaviors include foraging, sheltering, exploring, nest building and gnawing. In the wild, many species use wood and bark to satisfy these behaviors, thereby maintaining physiological and behavioral health. For laboratory animals, a variety of wood enrichment products are available that will provide appropriate environmental enrichment and satisfy those same needs. A discussion of wood varieties will be defined and a review of species appropriate wood enrichments will be discussed highlighting safety considerations when selecting wood products.

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