This month we will introduce you to some of the many forms of enrichment our residents receive. One item they regularly receive and enjoy is “browse.” Some of you may wonder what exactly browse is so Sarah Poirier, Chimpanzee Care Manager at Save the Chimps, is here to answer some frequently asked questions.
Why is enrichment important?
Enrichment overall is an essential part of ensuring a chimpanzee’s well-being. Browse enrichment is important because it promotes natural behaviors and offers a variety of foliage to taste, eat, and even nest with. Some chimpanzees will use the leftover sticks as tools for other enrichment devices, too. The weekly variety of plants is stimulating and exciting for our residents.
What is browse?
Browse is plant material and various types of foliage (leaves, flowers, branches).
What types of browse does Save the Chimps offer its residents?
We offer our residents a variety of browse options on a weekly basis. Some browse plants are purchased (such as mulberry, willow, cocoplum, acacia, sea hibiscus and eugenia) and other browse plants are cut from Save the Chimps’ property (such as bamboo, banana leaves, hibiscus, palm fronds and other trees).
Do the chimps have a favorite browse?
Some popular choices are banana leaves, hibiscus, and mulberry.
Do you have a funny story or memory of a chimpanzee using enrichment?
The first story that comes to mind is from years ago. We had put piles of hay on Ron’s island with seeds and nuts in the hay. This promotes the natural behavior of foraging for food as the chimps have to pick through the hay to find the treats. April, however, did not approve of the locations of the hay piles. Instead of standing near the hay pile like most chimps would do, she scooped the entire pile of hay up and carried it across the island and up the stairs to her favorite platform. Once she had the pile in her favorite spot, she foraged through it for the hidden treats.
Donate toward enrichment and care for our chimpanzee residents. On behalf of the more than 220 chimpanzees in our care, thank you for your compassion and generosity.