Hadiah, a seven year old female Sumatran tiger at the Phoenix Zoo, is on a winning streak! It has become an annual tradition at the Zoo to ask Hadiah for her predictions on who will win the college football bowl games played in Arizona each year. How do you ask a tiger which team she thinks will win a football game? Simple! You fill two cardboard boxes, representing each team playing in the game, with equal amounts of meat and then let Hadiah make her choice. This year it was decided beforehand that whichever box Hadiah ate from first would “determine” the winner of the game.
On December 26, 2013, Hadiah picked the Kansas State Wildcats to win over the Michigan Wolverines in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The K-State Wildcats won their game on December 28 beating Michigan 31-14. Hadiah made her second bowl game prediction on Monday, December 30 picking the University of Central Florida Knights over the Baylor Bears in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Hadiah’s prediction that UCF would be victorious went against what many professional college football analysts were predicting, as UCF was going into the game as a 17 point underdog. Even though the odds were against UCF, Hadiah’s prediction held true. UCF beat Baylor to win the Fiesta Bowl 52-42 on January 1, 2014. Hadiah also went 2-0 in her predictions last year. Check out the videos below to see Hadiah make her winning picks!
Giving Hadiah boxes with meat inside to determine the winner of a football game is more than just fun for us to watch, it is also a great form of behavioral enrichment for her to enjoy. Behavioral enrichment is the environmental enhancement of the lives of animals in a managed setting by providing them with mental and physical stimulation to increase natural and healthy behavior. In other words, adding a little creativity, fun and stimulation to our animals’ lives! The goals of enrichment are to offer a sense of control by allowing animals to make choices and to stimulate species-appropriate behaviors while interpreting these behaviors to our guests. See more photos of our animals enjoying enrichment by visiting our Enrichment page.