Cooperative feeder
Dolphins plus/DPMMR & ocean PARK hong kong

Plastic PVC tubes filled with fish, capped at both ends. Dolphins must work with each other or a trainer to get the fish out.

enrichment CATEGORIES







Food Presentation

Novelty in training

Time to make

1 hour + approx

€ 20 +


1. Make sure rough edges are sanded well (a Dremel is good for this).

2. Loops must be small enough so animals can’t get them over their head (calves), but large enough to manipulate to open the apparatus.



Cut 5” PVC pipe to the desired length - sand the pipe ends and the caps with a Dremel


Ocean Park Hong Kong version

Dolphins Plus/DPMMR version (GoPros for research purposes)

Dolphins Plus/DPMMR dolphins cooperating with each other to open the feeder.

Ocean Park Hong Kong bottlenose dolphins cooperating with trainers to open the feeder.

Research articles

Monitoring and studying the cetaceans' behaviour as they interact with enrichment allows us to understand their preferences, and even helps us to learn more about them as a species.  


Several papers have been published on bottlenose dolphins' response to the cooperative feeder: find them at the links below, and get in touch if you'd like access to copies!

From Dolphins Plus/DPMMR:

Kuczaj, S. A., Winship, K. A., & Eskelinen, H. C. (2015)Can bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) cooperate when solving a novel task?. Animal cognition, 18(2), 543-550.

Eskelinen, H. C., Winship, K. A., Jones, B. L., Ames, A. E., & Kuczaj, S. A. (2016). Acoustic behavior associated with cooperative task success in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Animal cognition, 19(4), 789-797.

From Ocean Park Hong Kong:

Matrai, E., Ng, A. K., Chan, M. M., Gendron, S. M., & Dudzinski, K. M. (2020). Testing use of a potential cognitive enrichment device by an Indo‐Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus). Zoo Biology, 39(3), 156-167. 


If you'd like to ask a question to us or directly to the person who submitted the idea, please contact us and we will pass on their details.

© 2017-20 Isabella Clegg

  • instagram-logo-png-white
  • White Twitter Icon
  • Researchgate
  • Google Scholar