NewsCovering Louisiana


Chimp Haven residents get gifts of fruit for Christmas

chimp with gift.jpg
Posted at 10:27 AM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 13:56:09-05

The residents of Chimp Haven in North Louisiana received some holiday treats as part of a Christmas-inspired enrichment fun.

The holiday treats which included fruits were wrapped in brightly colored paper, Chimp Haven said. The facility is the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary located in Keithville, La. The refuge sits on 200 acres of forested land and is home to more than 330 chimps retired from biomedical research.

“Just like many of our kids at home, the chimps love tearing into presents in festive wrapping, and fruit is always a welcomed treat for the chimpanzees,” said Rana Smith, Chimp Haven president and CEO. “Gift-wrapping some of the chimps’ favorite foods allows us create a novel, enriching experience that helps keep their minds active and their bodies healthy.”

To create the gift packages, staff members placed fruit cocktail into recycled boxes before wrapping treats in holiday paper. The packages were then tossed into the chimpanzees’ forested habitat for them to discover and devour.

“Most of the chimpanzees jumped right into the activity, ripping into the gift boxes and nibbling away at the treats they uncovered,” Smith said. “Some chimps pressed their faces deep inside the boxes to get every last morsel, while Pearl chose to stash her gifts to open after all of her friends were done with theirs.”

Chimp Haven says they serve fresh produce to the chimpanzees daily, and caretakers look for ways to provide additional enrichment opportunities that simulate exploration and discovery activities they would encounter in the wild.

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