KEITHVILLE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Chimpanzees at Chimp Haven got to open their Christmas presents early this week, tearing into holiday treats wrapped in brightly colored paper as part of Christmas-inspired enrichment fun.
The chimps are served fresh produce daily, and caretakers are always looking for enrichment opportunities that simulate exploration and discovery activities similar to those they would encounter in the wild. The gift unwrapping was an opportunity for the team at the national sanctuary for chimps to pair human holiday traditions with the chimps’ daily exercises intended to keep them mentally and emotionally flourishing.
“Just like many of our kids at home, the chimps love tearing into presents in festive wrapping, and fruit is always a welcomed treat for the chimpanzees,” said Rana Smith, Chimp Haven president and CEO. “Gift-wrapping some of the chimps’ favorite foods allows us to create a novel, enriching experience that helps keep their minds active and their bodies healthy.”
Staff members placed fruit cocktails into recycled boxes before wrapping the treats in holiday paper. The packages were then tossed into the chimpanzees’ habit, located on 200 miles of forested land in Keithville, Louisiana. The chimps eagerly discovered and devoured the festive fruit finds.
“Most of the chimpanzees jumped right into the activity, ripping into the gift boxes and nibbling away at the treats they uncovered,” Smith said. “Some chimps pressed their faces deep inside the boxes to get every last morsel, while Pearl chose to stash her gifts to open after all of her friends were done with theirs.”