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 chimpanzees have a great day, every day, is through enrichment.
What is Enrichment?
Enrichment is any item that promotes physical activity, mental stimulation, or play to ensure 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 brains and powerful bodies to handle all of the challenges they might encounter. In captivity, however, it can be challenging to provide all that chimpanzees need to keep their minds and bodies active. They may grow bored and develop abnormal behaviors. Enrichment encourages captive chimpanzees to be active and problem solve. Enrichment also provides variety, choice, comfort, and fun for the chimpanzees. 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:
Butch: kiddie pools – he will carry the empty ones around and sit in them everywhere he goes!
Chandra: blankets—she makes a giant, cozy nest every night!
Cheetah: pretzels—he loves to forage for them in puzzle feeders!
Clay: plastic trucks—http://www.savethechimps.org/meet-the-chimps/#/Cheetahor any hard plastic toys that roll.
Comet: toys of all kinds—this curious lady enjoys playing with new things!
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!
Luke: mirrors – he loves gazing at his handsome face in a mirror.
Ridge: raisin boards—he loves the challenge of removing raisins from the holes in these plastic bricks!
Roger: coconuts – he loves finding a coconut on the island and smashing it open for the sweet inside.
Rufus: grapes—he loves to forage for juicy grapes scattered all over his island!
Sarah: fingerpaint—she loves to splatter the paint anywhere and everywhere!
Sophie: big stuffed toys—she loves to carry them on her back!
Teá: applesauce—she is a master at dipping for the applesauce hidden inside a “termite” mound
Tinker and Bell: Kong toys—this mother and daughter pair never say no to frozen oatmeal in a Kong!