Sunday, April 10, 2016

Emotional Enrichment Sits with Bengal Tiger, Sajani

Here at International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS), we have the unique Emotional Enrichment Program.   Emotional Enrichment is a technique for improving and enhancing an animal's emotional life and minimizing stress, agitation, and irritation within the context of the animal's personality and biological instincts. It is a process wherein keepers, employees, and/or behaviorists create an emotional bond with the animal.  Each intern that wishes to participate in this amazing experience can pick two animals to sit with to develop a relationship with these exotic animals. In this week’s blog, I want to share about Sajani, one of the animals with which I get to sit.

Many of our pictures of Sajani are of her walking towards
the camera person.  She is one that always enjoys the
human company, and will come right over to the fence to greet you.
Sajani is a female Bengal tiger and is eighteen years old. She came to the Sanctuary in August of 2011. Sajani was rescued from the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, due to its closing. 

Not only is Sajani one of the sweetest residents here at IEAS, but she is also the silliest. I’ve notice from sitting with her for the last month that Sajani is always being a goofball. She loves when people, be it visitors, interns, staff, or volunteers, come to pay her a visit. When people are around her, Sajani will rub her face on the fence and chuff at you. She truly loves attention from everybody.

My favorite thing is when I sit with Sajani. She will come right up to the fence where I’m sitting, chuff at me, lay down, and then go to sleep. Not only is this the cutest thing I’ve ever witnessed, but it also means that Sajani feels comfortable with me around to put her guard down and go to sleep. That is the best thing that can happened to you if you are an intern trying to build rapport with an animal.

On days that I can’t find the time to sit with her, I’ll still go and say goodnight to her before it gets dark so she knows I did not and never could forget her. Whenever I return from sitting with her and the other interns ask me how it went, I always say the exact same thing, “I love her so much!” And it’s true. It’s truly amazing how much Sajani has changed me from our sits. 

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