Enrichment Zip-line



This article will be going over how to make very simple enrichment zip-line that consists of a strong steel cable. This is an extremely versatile piece of enrichment to have in every exhibit. I’ve found it particularly useful for agile carnivores as its a great way to exploit natural athletic behaviours to obtain food. In the video above I hung a chicken from the zip-line using a carabiner, in order to get the cougar to jump for her food. Many different toys and puzzle feeders can be hung from this line safely, making it an ideal item to have in many exhibits. Using high strength steel cable makes this item extremely low risk, it will not break, be chewed on or get tangled easily.


Building Instructions/ Materials

  • High strength steel cable, used here is about 1/4″ cable (steel cable is extremely strong, even something this thin can support weights of almost 2000lbs safely)
  • Cable clamps or Crimp-able cable clamps
  • 2 carabiners
  • A wrench or Crimper
  • Tape measure
  • Heavy duty bolt cutters

Building steps:

  1. First you are going to need to measure the distance between two strong anchor points. I would recommend against attaching the cable to things like chain link fence or small branches as they will likely bend or break.
  2. Once you have you measurements you can add about 1′ extra to the total measurement to account for the carabiner loops, you can then cut your wire using the bolt cutters, try to do so in a swift strong single motion as the cleaner you cut the wire the less sharp edges there will be. (single strands of the wire can be very sharp!)
  3. When you have cut your wire simply make a loop and use the cable clamps to secure the loop in place. If using cable clamps, make sure the nuts are as tight as they can possibly go using the wrench.
  4. You are done! Secure your zip line to your anchor points and let your imagination run wild with ideas!

Tips/ Comments 

For more inspiration on what do hang from this enrichment zip-line check out the Hanging Barrel Toy and the Hanging Spool. 

If you are worried about animals getting tangled in the cable, there are cables that come with rubber coatings or you could use rubber piping to cover the wire.

Subscribe To Welfare Wednesday!

Every Wednesday you get an email containing:

  • One summarized  journal article featuring the latest in animal welfare research
  • One enrichment idea for you to try