Taronga’s Chimpanzee group got some colourful Easter challenges earlier this week when they cracked 30 paper mâché eggs carefully placed in the exhibit by keepers.
Instead of chocolate, the eggs were filled with a special treat of popcorn, sultanas and pellets and then were hidden as much as possible in logs or positioned high up in the exhibit.
Despite the bright colours, these eggs were specially designed as a serious psychological puzzle for the animals.
Primate Keeper, Suzie Lemon, said: “We call this type of enrichment ‘novel enrichment’ as it’s an item these animals have never seen before so it’s completely new and exciting.
“Novel enrichments like these eggs are new and challenging ways to present food to these animals, it keeps them thinking.”
“The chimps had to manipulate and break the eggs to get the food. They were completely sealed so they had to rattle them around a little bit to figure out what was inside. Then they ripped the eggs apart. It’s very different for them and engages them throughout the day,” said Suzie.
“We put 30 eggs out for 19 chimps so there was enough for everyone. One of the younger females called Lani got 4 eggs. It was good to see a lower ranking female like Lani get to enjoy the enrichment.
"Sudi, one of our youngest chimps at nine months old, started playing with the wrapping of one of the egg. It’s great to see infants enjoying the enrichment as well.”
Taronga has an ongoing partnership with the Jane Goodall Foundation’s Tchimpounga Rehabilitation Centre in the Congo, which helps Chimpanzees rescued from poachers and the illegal pet trade.