At CHCI we use any theme enrichment to break up the day to day routine of the chimpanzees. The celebration of holidays, birthdays and theme days every week, with the non-permanent forms of enrichment, help us to make the chimpanzees days more interesting. The windows are decorated for the holidays, crepe paper and balloons are hung up, and the chimpanzees receive wrapped presents and special food treats (examples include red day, musical toys day, beach day, etc.).
Some of the ways we make the days special at CHCI:
We provide plastic brushes, buckets of soapy water, rubber boots, and sponges. The human caretakers smear mustard or ketchup on the walls or windows of the chimpanzees' enclosure and place the brushes, buckets of soapy water, rubber boots and sponges in the chimpanzee enclosure. The chimpanzees at CHCI use the items to clean their enclosures as they have seen their human caretakers do every day.
Human caretakers provide various types of paper (colored, white, paper towels, toilet paper, shredded paper etc.) inside of the chimpanzees' enclosures. We spread the paper throughout the chimpanzees' enclosure. The chimpanzees at CHCI color on the paper, use it for wadges and nest with it.
The human caretakers stack cardboard boxes in the chimpanzees' enclosure to make forts, cities, trains, etc. Other enrichment items can be placed in or on the boxes.
Human enrichers hang the sheets throughout the enclosure. This provides the chimpanzees with areas in which they hide.
Enrichers place the enrichment items - for example toys, magazines, clothing, shoes) inside bags. They often place bags within other bags and then place the bags in the enclosures.
Human caretakers cut holes in the sheets and cover the enclosures with sheets and secure the edges. Enrichment objects can be placed on top of the sheets near the holes so that the chimpanzees can pull the items through the holes in the sheets.
Human caretakers place a large selection of clothing inside of the chimpanzees' enclosure. The chimpanzees at CHCI sometimes wear the clothing, nest with it and/or use it in play interactions such as tug-of-war and peek-a-boo.
On color days all the enrichment provided to the chimpanzees is primarily one color only.
Caregivers provide the chimpanzees with soft things to rest with including pillows, sleeping bags, fluffy clothing, big stuffed animals, and shredded paper.
CHCI celebrates all holidays and each chimpanzee's birthday. The windows are decorated for the holidays, crepe paper and balloons are hung up, and the chimpanzees receive wrapped presents and special food treats.