Christmas came early today for Taronga Zoo’s Chimpanzees, who discovered some gift-wrapped food treats and other tasty decorations in their exhibit.
The Chimps were quick to pounce on the festive-themed enrichment items prepared by keepers, showing off their natural foraging skills to uncover the food inside.
Although, like many youngsters at Christmas time, Taronga’s 15-month old Chimpanzee, ‘Fumo’, seemed just as happy playing with the cardboard box packaging.
“Christmas is always an exciting time for us, so we like to share that joy with the animals. The Chimpanzees received some extra treats today, with some brightly-coloured boxes full of special treats and shredded paper to encourage them to have a bit of a forage,” said Senior Primate Keeper, Lou Grossfeldt.
“These enrichment activities provide important mental and physical stimulation for our animals, providing them with opportunities to show off the skills they have developed to be successful survivors in the wild.”
Taronga’s Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos also received a gift from a Secret Conservation Santa in the form of a Christmas wreath decorated with their favourite fruits and flowers. ‘Kwikila’ and her young joey ‘Nupela’ demonstrated their amazing climbing skills to retrieve the tasty treats from the tree top.
Keepers also spread some Christmas cheer at Taronga’s Cotton-top Tamarin exhibit. Some Christmas bon bons caused a stir among the tiny primates, who were quick to tear them open and grab the mealworms and maggots concealed within.
Taronga’s giraffes also enjoyed some festive-themed enrichment, with keepers hanging giant food-filled baubles and fruit iceblocks around their exhibit.
“Christmas may only come once a year, but environmental enrichment is something we incorporate into the lives of our remarkable giraffes every day. Today’s enrichment items encourage the giraffes to use their amazing 20-inch tongues to retrieve the food and show off the natural skills and behaviours they would in the wild,” said Giraffe Keeper, Johny Wade.
Taronga Zoo is open every day of the Summer School Holidays, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day.