For our enhanced enrichment project, my partner and I decided to create a theme for decorating the west playroom based on the book Around the World in 80 Days. Using cardboard boxes and various other art supplies we built a number of the landmarks that the characters in the book stop at or come close to. These included Big Ben, a Volcano, the Gateway to India, an Egyptian pyramid, and the Empire State building! I did not know we would be able to build anything out of boxes because I had never done it before but we succeeded and every thing turned out great. We not only decorated the boxes, but we also hid treats on, in, and under them. In addition, we provided many theme-appropriate enrichment items for the chimpanzees to play with.
The best part of the project for me was watching Tatu and Loulis enjoy the decorations and treats. Tatu moved across the enclosure retrieving treats faster than the other chimpanzees. She started with the volcano, it was covered in ketchup, but once she was convinced she ate all of it she moved to the next station.
Loulis, however, had a much different approach. Rather than immediately approaching the landmarks he simply sat, staring at Big Ben. After a moment his hair became pilo erect (standing on end) and he attacked the clock tower, taking it down in one swing.
It was tons of fun building and decorating everything for the chimpanzees to illustrate our day, Around the World in 80 Swings. Watching Tatu move skillfully around the room foraging successfully was an amazing thing to see and I was glad to give the chimpanzees something completely new in their play room. Hopefully, this was the best part of the project for the chimpanzees!