Chimpanzee Enrichment

Written by: Meg Mas

All primates have an innate need for contact with other primates. One aspect of this is grooming. Chimpanzees use grooming behavior to create and reinforce social bonds (as well as hygiene). With this information in mind I decided to create an enrichment item for the chimpanzees at CHCI. I saw a very similar item while visiting a great ape sanctuary in Florida (Center for Great Apes). It is called a “grooming board”. Basically, I took a piece of wood and affixed plastic golf grass to one side. I added an eye-hook to hang the board from the enclosure door. The idea is to put something that the chimpanzees like in the golf grass so that they have to “groom” it out. I chose yogurt for one grooming board and barbeque sauce for the other. All three chimpanzees tried it and seemed interested! Success!


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