First, a reminder to all that Tuesday (just a few days away!) is Giving Day for Apes.
In addition to our main fundraising page, if any one person or group out there wants to create their own fundraising page to raise funds for the sanctuary, you can do that! It’s pretty easy. Just go to our Giving Day for Apes page and click on the big “Fundraise” button and it will walk you though the steps. To see pages that others have created, scroll down on our page and look under “Campaigns supporting this organization.” All donations made on any of those campaigns will go directly to the sanctuary and will be eligible for the cash prizes offered!
Did you go look? Okay, good, now here’s the blog for the day:
Yesterday during the video event with Senator Tom Udall hosted by Animal Protection of New Mexico, animal welfare scientist Dr. Katie Cronin said something that really struck me. She said that having an enrichment program is not about what you provide but rather about how the animals feel about it. This is obviously true and yet somehow profound because it is not historically the way enrichment programs have been talked about or evaluated.
Enrichment is all about engagement and finding things that interest the individuals in your care, so if you give some type of enrichment to an animal and they don’t engage with it all, well, it’s not enriching for them and that means new things should be tried and evaluated.
So, fast forward to today. Kelsi and I were cleaning the greenhouse and I looked up at an eye bolt that Anthony had put under the top platform of the structure last year sometime. I said outloud that we should hang something there, so Kelsi and I talked about it for a bit and she mentioned wanting to get another hay feeder like the one filled with lettuce that Mave and Honey B enjoyed so much recently.
That made a dim light bulb go off in my (above my?) head, and I got to work filling the hay feeder with layers of blankets and lettuce to hang from the aforementioned eye bolt. I admit that I thought I was being quite clever. I had to stand on a step stool to hang the feeder and thought to myself that this was going to be a great challenge for the group of seven.
After letting the group into the greenhouse, I anxiously turned the corner to spy on the chimpanzees to see if they were engaged with the hay feeder. I was presented with a very rewarding scene: Annie was on top of the platform lying down to reach the lettuce and Missy was down below standing as tall as she could to reach the enrichment.
I left, once again feeling very clever.
I returned just a few minutes later, and Missy had solved the puzzle her own way, beating me at any contest for cleverness.
Soon, Negra came out to the greenhouse from the playroom and discovered all she had to do was sit below and wait for the lettuce to fall down as Missy picked through the blankets.
Meanwhile on the other side of the building, Mave and Willy B enjoyed some enriching social time in the outdoor chute in between rain showers:
While Honey B performed magic tricks with some new scarves:
All in all, I would say today was enriching for both the chimpanzees and me, and now I hope for you too.
If you enjoy the blog, please do consider making a donation to our Giving Day for Apes page. To get the most bang for your buck, donate between 10-11am PT on Tuesday, October 13th, but any donation at any time helps! Thank you for helping enrich the lives of the chimpanzees!