The other day when we let the chimps out into their exhibit, Sule, our 3 ½ year old male, picked up a stick and went straight to the dipping pot. The pot is a hollow wooden structure with holes in the sides and a lock on the top. Each morning before we let the chimps out we fill the dipping pot with pureed fruit, yoghurt or vegemite. The only way the chimps can get the puree out is to dip a stick (a tool) into the hole on the side of the pot, one of the chimps’ favourite activities.
Sule was the first one to the dipping pot, but he was soon joined by Kuma (one of the adult females in the group). Kuma took the stick straight off Sule and used it to get the puree from the pot. Sule turned to his mother, Sacha, who was sitting close by and started whimpering. He then turned back to Kuma and put his hand out to beg for the stick, but to no avail. So Sule ran and jumped in his mother’s arms for a hug, whimpering the whole time. After he had settled down, he ran back to the dipping pot and tried begging for the stick again. Kuma eventually broke the stick in half and gave half to Sule and they both were able to enjoy the pureed fruit.
Katie, Taronga Zoo Primate Keeper