Lately interns have been working on coming up with new and challenging ideas for food puzzles for the chimpanzees. I really wanted to do something involving Velcro so after I found a couple of cardboard trays from the student room I came up with my idea.
I decided to Velcro treat baggies into the cups in the cardboard and then to place the cardboard trays on top of the nighttime enclosures as a dinner forage. The idea behind the puzzle being that the chimpanzees would have to figure out a way of getting the treats out of the trays and into the enclosures.
The Velcro was to ensure that the solution wouldn’t be as easy as simply dumping the treat bags by turning the trays upside down!
At first, Tatu and Loulis worked at getting the treats through the caging. This is Loulis in the nighttime enclosure clinging to the ceiling to get at one of the trays.
Here is Tatu in one of the other nighttime enclosure rooms working on her tray.
After a moment or two of effort Tatu decided that knocking the trays onto the ground in front of the cages was a better idea. Then, Dar and Tatu then used long tools to bring the trays closer to the cage where they could get at the treats. Here, Tatu uses a hose to extend her reach beyond the red zone.
Here, Dar has successfully pulled the tray into reach with a plastic rake.
The trays were too wide to fit easily underneath in this room, as you can see. Loulis and Dar decided that since the trays would not come all the way into the enclosure, it
was easier to rip the cardboard trays into pieces until they could get at the treats.
Tatu though was able to finesse them in through the wider access point in the other room (see picture with hose above). It was interesting to see each chimpanzee use a different approach to solving the puzzle. And, ultimately achieved what I consider a successfully enriching project!