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Student's Journal

Pioneer: Help Improve Lives of Primates in Captivity

Primates have a complex social system and in the wild are able to find endless sources of stimulation in their natural environment. In captivity, zookeepers need to create a setting filled with enriching activities to keep the chimpanzees and gorillas happy and healthy. You can help these zookeepers by creating enrichment materials for use with the great apes and other animals.
Arrow Primate Enrichment:
  • Zoos appreciate help from people who want to make the lives of captive animals better. However, each zoo has different needs and requirements for enrichment donations. Before starting a project, contact your local zoo and find out what items are most desirable. The education department at the zoo will either have the information, or will be able to get it for you. Below, you will see how two groups worked closely with their local organizations to benefit captive great apes.
Arrow Enrichment Projects and Resources:
  • In Ohio, Amelia’s Wild Friends Roots & Shoots group grows fresh produce for gorillas at their local zoo. They planted and harvested green beans, carrots, corn, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, and peppers.
    • Enrichment Online, produced by the Fort Worth Zoo, provides suggestions and information to create and order enrichment activities for captive animals. Navigate through the website to learn about activities that will enrich the lives of captive animals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.
  • Students from the Roots & Shoots College Summit constructed a hammock out of fire hose for captive chimpanzees to use.
    • Experts at the Central Washington University Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) provide enrichment activities for chimpanzees. CHCI works with Washoe and other chimpanzees who use American Sign Language, incorporating many of these activities into their daily lives.
  • You can also help improve the lives of chimps recently retired from being used for medical research.
 Student's Journal:
 Unit One
 Unit Two
 Unit Three
 Unit Four
 Related Topics:
  ArrowABC's of Chimp Behavior
  ArrowDr. Jane's Scrapbook
  ArrowMultiple Intelligences
  ArrowOnline Dictionary
  ArrowTree Sketching Guide
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