Each day at the sanctuary has a daytime and an evening enrichment theme. Having these themes helps volunteers and staff select various objects to offer the chimpanzees. It’s not that the chimps know what each theme is, like “Red Day” or “Giant Pile Day” or “Things in Bags Day;” it is more that the themes help staff and volunteers make sure to mix up the enrichment that is offered each day (and night) and the ways in which it is offered.
One of the recent themes was “Enrichment in Boxes Day,” which entailed volunteers putting various items like troll and dora dolls, socks, scarves, straws, bandanas, wooden toys, etc. into boxes. We put the boxes with all of those items in them into each of the enclosures after we finished cleaning yesterday.
We caught Foxie checking out one of the boxes in the Playroom. Can you guess what she was after?
Watching Foxie stick her hand into the box of “unknown” is something that really struck me. Elizabeth literally said “She never would have done that six years ago.” She was right. Without knowing Foxie’s early years at the sanctuary, one might think that she has always loved troll and dora dolls. But, that has not always been the case. When she first arrived, she did not want anything to do with the enrichment or blankets that were offered each day. She actually went out of her way to avoid all of it.
Throughout the past six plus years, Foxie has grown by leaps and bounds. She has gained confidence to explore Young’s Hill (and even joins Jamie on her patrol sometimes), she continues to try new things, and as Katelyn wrote in a recent post, she has grown to trust humans with her “babies.” Who would have imagined that one piece of enrichment would have such a dramatic effect on the transformation of Foxie chimpanzee?