Chimpanzees naturally use tools in free-living Africa. One common example of tool use is “ant fishing” or “termite fishing” — when a chimpanzee takes a stick and dips it into an ant or termite mound to gather up some tasty insects. At CSNW, we have a simulated termite board which we fill with things captive chimpanzees enjoy, such as fruit puree or peanut butter.
As part of our sanctuary philosophy, we strive to allow for “species specific” chimpanzee behavior. This can involve providing adequate space and climbing structures for a natural behavior like brachiation, and it can also include providing enrichment that allows them to use their instinctual chimp behaviors, such as nesting or tool use.
The other day, Jackie and I presented the chimpanzees with a puzzle: how to get drinks from buckets outside the caging. They quickly grabbed hoses to use for tools, as you’ll see in the video.