Animals to feast on St. Patrick's Day treats, March 17

Keepers plan holiday-themed enrichment for orangutans, cougars, hippos

Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, including a red-haired lad and lassie from the Oregon Zoo known – on March 17 anyway – as the O’Rangutans.

On Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., visitors to the zoo’s Red Ape Reserve can watch Kutai and Inji, a pair of critically endangered Sumatran orangs, explore a cardboard lucky clover mine in search of leprechaun gold (treats wrapped to look like gold nuggets).

At 1 p.m., mountain lions Chinook and Paiute will enjoy some lickable green shamrocks painted on the windows of their Cougar Crossing habitat, and at 2:30 hippos Bubbles and Poppy will go bobbing for green goodies (heads of lettuce floating in their pool).

This is the 12th year that special St. Patrick’s Day enrichment treats have been handed out to zoo residents. The Oregon Zoo is known internationally for its enrichment programs, which mentally and physically stimulate animals by providing them with opportunities to play, hunt and forage. The zoo’s volunteer enrichment team works with keepers to create the treats and activities, which are tailored to the needs of individual animals.

Highlights from a previous year’s St. Patrick’s Day event