Each day after cleaning the chimpanzees’ enclosures, we set out a couple of baskets of new enrichment (toys, magazines, clothing, blankets, etc.). Aside from a couple of obvious favorites – Jamie and her cowgirl boots, Foxie and her troll dolls – it’s somewhat hard to predict what will be of interest to the chimps. A few days ago Burrito grabbed these flamingo boxers (courtesy of volunteer Becca) and initiated some crazy play with his caregivers.
It’s important to distinguish Burrito’s play with these boxer shorts from chimpanzees you might see in movies or on TV wearing clothes. Chimpanzees who “work” in the entertainment industry are often duct-taped into clothing and forced, through physical intimidation or abuse, to perform. (Check out Executive Director Sarah’s informative blog post on this topic here.) Burrito, on the other hand, is not forced to do anything. We work every day to give Burrito and the rest of the Cle Elum Seven as much choice as possible, and we love to see what choices they make.