Learn About Enrichment & Foraging

This lesson is inspired by Social and Emotional learning (SEL) principles. In this lesson, students will learn what chimpanzees need to thrive and will recognize that each chimpanzee is an individual with unique feelings and needs.

What is enrichment?

  • Enrichment is something that keeps the chimpanzees busy. It can be toys to play with or play on, new things to try, or things like food puzzles that they have to spend time doing or figuring out.
  • Enrichment can use all five senses.
  • Chimpanzees need enrichment to live happy, healthy lives.
  • Chimpanzees at Chimp Haven get enrichment every day, 365 days a year!
  • Like humans, chimpanzees are very smart! They need to be stimulated so they don’t feel bored.
  • Many of the enrichment activities at Chimp Haven help the chimpanzees practice things that they would naturally do in the wild.
  • What are some of the things you do to stay active and happy? Chimpanzees get different types of enrichment like food, environmental, sensory and social.
  • Enrichment can be food based, like popsicles and frozen peanut butter treats.
  • Enrichment can be non-food based, like listening to music or painting.
  • Chimpanzees sometimes use tools with enrichment, like finding sticks to search for ants.
  • Humans need enrichment too – puzzles, toys, cooking, and playing with friends are all types of enrichment.
  • Chimpanzees have likes and dislikes just like humans. While one may really love music enrichment, another may prefer food!

What is forage?

  • To forage is to search for food.
  • Forage is also a type of food.
  • Forage is one type of chimpanzee enrichment.
  • Forage at Chimp Haven may consist of plants, nuts, popcorn, dry pasta, and dried fruits.
  • Chimpanzees in the wild spend up to eight hours each day foraging for their food. Chimp Haven creates enrichment to mimic that behavior and keep the chimps mentally and physically active.
  • Chimpanzees at the sanctuary forage for browse in their forested habitats.
  • Forage is spread out over a surface instead of being clumped together.
  • To find forage chimpanzees have to search a wide area and may need to dig or shuffle things around to get to their treat.
  • Chimpanzees at the sanctuary get forage both inside of their bedrooms and outside in their habitats.
  • Indoor forage may be covered in hay and outdoor forage may be hidden in the grass. Both types create a challenge for the chimpanzees!
  • A piece of forage is typically no bigger than a quarter – like finding a needle in a haystack!

What is Chimp Haven?

  • Chimp Haven is a big sanctuary where chimpanzees live together in family groups, also known as troops.
  • Chimp Haven is located in Louisiana.
  • More than 300 chimpanzees live at Chimp Haven today!

Video: Watch Behavior Tech Jordan prep and distribute forage for the chimps!

Video: What is enrichment? 

The chimps at Chimp Haven receive enrichment every day to keep them healthy and happy

Activity Sheet #1: Complete the maze and help Flora find forage along the way

Activity Sheet #2: Make your own forage necklace

Activity Sheet #3: Forage like a chimpanzee in your own yard

Activity Sheet #4: Use this sheet to describe why each enrichment item is important to the chimps’ wellbeing

The chimps like ketchup?? Click the image to read about 10 surprising enrichment items the chimps love.