Peanut Butter Banana Day!

I started at CHCI this quarter as a Primate 220 student; therefore I am not allowed to have any type of interaction with the chimpanzees.  The only way that I can interact with them, is to plan an enrichment activity.  I decided to do a food enrichment, which consisted of frozen bananas covered in peanut butter.  I froze six bananas with sticks, and 2 whole ones, which I cut up.  I brought in my enrichment on Friday, and I was able to put it out that same day.  Kelly, one of the techs at CHCI, showed the chimps the bananas beforehand, and they started to get really excited. I threw some of the bananas on top of the human cage, threw some up on the platform, and hid them in various toys and other objects throughout the room.  Kelly and Anna filmed and photographed the enrichment for me, so I was able to see how the chimps reacted.

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When they first came in the west room, they started emitting high pitched calls, which Kelly told me they do when they are really excited over a food item. Tatu and Dar seemed to get the most treats.  Dar was finding all the hard ones, even climbing on top of the human cage to get the piece that was thrown up there.  When he first came into the room, he began stuffing as many pieces as he could fit into his mouth. Tatu ate all the peanut butter off her bananas first, and then would suck on the banana part.  Loulis seemed more private about his banana eating.  He found one that had a stick, and also found a piece that I had put into a small cup.  He held everything in his mouth, then went outside, and ate his treats, with his back turned to everyone.  I didn’t see that he was able to get anymore treats than just the two.

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Doing this enrichment for the chimps, and seeing them react so well to it, was such an amazing experience for me.  I hope to prepare lots more enrichment activities in the future.

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