Written by: Whitney Emge, 2012 summer apprentice
For my enhanced enrichment day I chose a project that would capitalize on my left-brained disposition – a fire hose bag! I liked the idea because it is a versatile “permanent” fixture that can be stuffed with different enrichment items and treats and moved around. I spent several mornings and afternoons near the outdoor enclosure with my measuring tape and various tools scattered about, sawing away at the fire hose and noisily drilling holes under Tatu’s supervision. When the bag was finished, Lizzie (fellow apprentice) helped me stuff it with daily enrichment as well as some apples and food puzzles. Tatu LOVES peaches, so Rosie made sure Tatu saw her put one in the bag. Tatu was ecstatic, to say the least.
Next, Rosie and I grappled with the ladder and she heaved the cumbersome bag high up to hang in what we considered to be a more remote location in the outdoor enclosure. Once the bag was secured, we readied ourselves in the observation area to record the chimpanzees’ reactions. Tatu was out the door and perched on a fire hose eating the peach before I could even get the video camera rolling. Rosalynn, a fellow summer apprentice, was observing on Berm during this time and reported food squeaks and grunts galore as Tatu located each piece of fruit and skillfully ripped through what I thought were fairly complex food puzzles. Loulis and Dar watched from a distance, not daring to interrupt her. Overall, I would say the project was a success.