We know a lot of the people who regularly read this blog also support other great ape sanctuaries and zoos. And we know you all really enjoy seeing the Cle Elum Seven enriched, so we are seeking your ideas, perhaps things you’ve seen at other facilities, for what we have been calling “enhanced enrichment” – enrichment that creates a challenge and encourages exercise and/or tool use. Jackie put together a great video yesterday (see at end of post) that shows a few of the things that we do already.
Below is a photo of our enrichment calendar. We have themes for our regular enrichment (toys and such put out after cleaning in the morning) and projects for enhanced enrichment (usually set up in the evenings after dinner). The scheduled enhanced enrichment all began with a desire to consistently keep smart Jamie from getting bored. As you’ll see from the video, all of the chimpanzees can appreciate a challenge. Free-living chimpanzees spend hours each day traveling, looking for and acquiring food, so presenting food puzzles is a good way to keep those innate parts of their brains exercised.