Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “. . . have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
One of mankind’s duties is to be good stewards of the Earth and all of its amazing animals. When caring for animals, we must provide them with necessities: food, water, shelter, and space. However, it would be pretty boring if you had a big, comfortable house but nothing to do! That is why another aspect of properly caring for animals is enrichment and training. These are practices that can physically and mentally stimulate our animals. Whether it’s hanging fruit popsicles on a hot day, hiding chew toys in the enclosures to mimic foraging, or training camels to give rides for exercise, all of these activities benefit the animals by enriching their lives.
One of the many ways the Creation Museum’s zookeepers enrich their animal collection is teaching them how to paint.
By using specific training techniques to teach the animals to hold paintbrushes, simply move their heads up and down, or by putting non-toxic paint on their feet or noses and training them to walk on a canvas, we can obtain beautiful, unique animal artwork!
Of course, animals will never possess the artistically creative abilities of mankind, who was created in the image of God; you’ll never see animals spontaneously paint portraits or landscapes. However, they do seem to enjoy the attention they get while “painting” these colorful canvases, and it is a wonderful way to enrich their lives . . . and ours! It’s also an excellent way to demonstrate God’s amazing creation.
The capacity for learning in animals is huge—only a Creator could have designed something so unique!
A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10