Christmas came early today for Taronga Zoo’s Chimpanzees and Lemurs, who spent the morning feasting on some festive-themed enrichment items prepared by keepers and volunteers.
The Chimpanzees woke to find gift-wrapped food treats spread throughout their exhibit, showing off their natural foraging skills to uncover the tasty rewards inside.
Although like many youngsters at Christmas, infants Fumo and Sudi seemed just as happy playing with the colourful packaging.
“While Christmas only comes once a year, enrichment is something we incorporate into the lives of our remarkable animals every day. These enrichment items are a fun surprise, but they also provide the chimps with opportunities to showcase the skills they have developed to be successful survivors in the wild,” said Primate Keeper, Ben McDonogh.
Keepers also spread some Christmas cheer at Taronga’s Ring-tailed Lemur exhibit.
A collection of gingerbread houses and tree decorationscaused a stir among the endangered primates, who were eager to retrieve the banana and sweet potato hidden within.
“Each of the houses had holes cut into the walls, so the lemurs had to move them around and utilise their natural dexterity and problem solving behaviours to get to the food inside,” said Primate Keeper, Alison Smith.
Alison said the Christmas enrichment was also a great bonding activity for Taronga’s group of eight lively lemurs.
“We saw several lemurs gathered around each gingerbread house, helping each other and sharing the treats,” said Alison.
Taronga’s Meerkat mob also had a visit from a Secret Conservation Santa, receiving a giant Christmas stocking and bon bons filled with their favourite mealworms.
Meanwhile the Zoo’s oldest couple, Lance and Esmeralda the Aldabra Giant Tortoises, enjoyed a festive feast in the form of watermelons carved in the shape of Christmas trees.
Taronga Zoo is open every day of the Summer School Holidays, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day.