After so many years of enduring a barren, lonely, and in some cases painful existence, Save the Chimps is committed to providing the chimpanzees with the best retirement possible. In short, we want them to be happy and enjoy life. One way in which we ensure the chimps have a great day, every day, is through enrichment.
What is Enrichment?
Save the Chimps enriches the chimpanzees’ lives to promote physical activity, mental stimulation, and play to improve the chimpanzees’ well-being. When most people think of “enrichment,” they think of puzzles and devices that require problem solving, or novel objects that pique the chimpanzees’ curiosity. However, enrichment includes everything from the friendship of other chimpanzees to the climbing structures on the chimpanzees’ islands, from interaction with loving caregivers to the excitement of a holiday party. Anything that the chimpanzees enjoy or find interesting can be considered enrichment.
Why is Enrichment So Important?
In the wild, chimpanzees must navigate a complex physical and social environment in order to survive. Nature has equipped chimpanzees with a big brain and powerful body to handle all of the challenges they might encounter. In captivity, however, chimpanzees experience a far simpler and more static environment than their minds and bodies are designed for. They may grow bored, develop abnormal behaviors, or even be driven to the brink of madness. Enrichment encourages captive chimps be active and problem solve. Enrichment also provides variety, choice, comfort, and fun. The result is happier and more active chimpanzees.
Enrichment in Action
Please enjoy the following photo slide show and the videos below that show our staff and volunteers creating and the chimpanzees enjoying just a few of the many forms of enrichment we provide!
Some of the chimps’ favorite items:
Iris: blankets—she makes a giant, cozy nest every night!
Comet: toys of all kinds—this curious lady enjoys playing with new things!
Sophie: big stuffed toys—she loves to carry them on her back!
Cheetah: pretzels—he loves to forage for them in puzzle feeders!
Luke: hammocks and mirrors—he loves to lounge in a hammock gazing at his handsome face in a mirror!
Tinker and Bell: Kong toys—this mother and daughter pair never say no to frozen oatmeal in a Kong!
Garrey: kiddie pools—nothing is more fun than bobbing for diced apples!
Rufus: grapes—he loves to forage for juicy grapes scattered all over his island!
Garfield: hardhats—he likes to use them as bowls, and they are virtually unbreakable!
Indie: foraging boards—she works hard to extract all of the mashed banana and sunflower seeds!
Sarah: fingerpaint—she loves to splatter the paint anywhere and everywhere!
Ridge: raisin boards—he loves the challenge of removing raisins from the holes in these plastic bricks!
Teá: applesauce—she is a master at dipping for the applesauce hidden inside a “termite” mound