Jamie really cleaned up in today’s breakfast forage. We put out whole apples and she was absolutely beside herself—carrying them around in hand and in foot. Thankfully the other chimps were able to get some as well—I posted photos of Annie, Burrito, and Missy on their Facebook pages. I saw Foxie and Jody with some too but couldn’t get a good photo. And Negra? Well, she was preoccupied with the peanuts that were scattered around. Not surprising at all
Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’
In his first post, Rich Zimmerman introduced us to the plight of free-living orangutans in Indonesia. Here he tells us how his program, Orangutan Outreach, has helped with some of the issues orangutans face and how Apps for Apes helps raise awareness for those efforts.
How has your work with Orangutan Outreach influenced conservation efforts in Indonesia?
Since its inception, Orangutan Outreach has been able to make a notable impact in the ongoing struggle to save the orangutans. Over the past few years we’ve been able to make substantial financial contributions to our strategic partners in the field, including Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS), IAR, Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) and SOCP. These funds go to rescuing, caring for, relocating, rehabilitating, and releasing individual orangutans back to the forest in Borneo and Sumatra. Working with our partners in the field, we’ve helped fund the rescue of individuals who, without our help, would otherwise have perished or been smuggled out of Indonesia by illegal animal traders. Our support has contributed immensely to the success of the BOS Nyaru Menteng orangutan releases. This release program is the first of its kind in history. BOS is literally re-creating a genetically stable population of orangutans in the wild and we are honored to be able to help them.
In addition to the work on the ground, Orangutan Outreach does a lot of online advocacy on behalf of the orangutans via our website, and our social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. We’ve been able to bring people together from all over and create hubs of support among our fans and followers.
Rich helping to educate the public about the plight of orangutans. Photo © Orangutan Outreach.
Tell us a little bit about the Apps for Apes program and how this helps both captive and wild orangutans.
Apps for Apes was started a few years ago as a way to provide enrichment to orangutans in zoos and sanctuaries—and has now expanded to include chimpanzees! Apes are highly intelligent creatures who require mental stimulation to keep from growing bored and depressed. Every ape is a unique individual with his or her own particular likes and dislikes, and the quality of life of apes living in zoos and sanctuaries is highly dependent on the amount and type of enrichment they receive on a daily basis. With the Apps for Apes project, we are providing iPads to ape caregivers in order to provide them with unlimited enrichment opportunities. They have access to music, musical instruments, cognitive games, art, painting, drawing, photos and videos. I should also point out that we do not spend a penny on Apps for Apes. All iPads are donated. NatGeo gave us several dozen last year when they upgraded their field staff!
Apps for Apes has three goals: 1) to provide stimulating enrichment & immediate gratification for the apes using iPads, 2) to raise awareness among zoo visitors of the critical need to protect orangutans in the wild, and 3) to promote the conservation efforts of Orangutan Outreach. For Apps for Apes to be truly successful we need to achieve ALL the goals. It’s wonderful to provide something fun for a captive ape, but we want to take it further. We want the iPad enrichment sessions to become ‘teachable moments’. Whether via live caregiver talks or stories on the news, we have a golden opportunity to get people to think about orangutans—to see them as amazing, intelligent beings who are being brutally killed in the wild—and to help them! That’s our larger goal of Apps for Apes—for the apes in captivity to truly become ambassadors for their cousins in the wild.
Puppe and her son Budi at the Toronto Zoo with their keeper Matthew Berridge. Photos © Tom Pandi for Orangutan Outreach.
What can we do at home to help with conservation efforts?
People should try their best to avoid products that contain palm oil—and spread the word to all their friends. While boycotting all products that contain palm oil is not feasible, one can always make choices in what they buy. Consumers have power. By letting companies know you won’t buy products that contribute to the destruction of orangutan habitat you are making a powerful statement! Hopefully soon—but only with outside pressure from environmental groups—there will be products that only contain palm oil that is certifiably sustainable and that has not led to the deteriorating population of orangutans. Until then, use extreme caution when shopping, and read those labels!
A really fun way for people to get involved with orangutan conservation is by adopting an orangutan on our website. The adoptions are virtual—the orangutans stay at the care center (Believe me… people ask!). Adopting an orangutan is a great way for someone to follow along as their adoptee grows up. Donations are critical to keep the projects going, but spreading awareness is also key. People can’t act if they don’t know what’s happening far away in Borneo and Sumatra. We need people to share our website with their friends, join us on Facebook and spread the word. We have lots of online materials for young people to use in school. We cannot save the orangutans alone—only together can we make a difference!
CSNW was fortunate enough to be included in the Apps for Apes program and very much appreciate the iPad we received. Since then, we also got one from Shari H. so now the chimpanzees have two iPads! Now one person can keep Jamie occupied and someone else can play with the other chimps—perfect! Here’s a video of the chimps with their iPads:
One of our missions at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is to advocate for apes everywhere, which is why we developed the program Eyes on Apes. The idea is to have one centralized area for people to learn about issues that apes face both in captivity and in the wild, while providing tools for you to take action.
One thing we just added were some pages on individual trainers in the entertainment industry. This is a really nice resource for people to have when you hear about a chimp in a commercial or movie and are curious what it is like for them with their trainers. Each page lists facts about the trainers, any relevant USDA citations, and links to our action alerts about productions these trainers were involved in.
Please share this site with your friends, and help raise awareness for apes everywhere! You can ask them to sign up for our Take Action list in order to get action alerts and help make a difference for apes everywhere.
Take a look through all the pages—there’s been some makeovers throughout the site, like this informational map showing the current vs. historical population of African apes:
And, since this was a little bit of a wordy post, I thought I’d throw in a picture of Negra from this morning’s breakfast forage on Young’s Hill:
We are always trying to come up with fun and interesting ideas to enrich the chimpanzees at CSNW. Since today is April Fool’s Day, I was coming up with ways to mix things up for the chimps. We tried to serve lunch at breakfast, which didn’t seem to go over as well as I had thought—the chimps were expecting fruit smoothie! So we made up for that faux pas by doing a smoothie forage.
While Elizabeth and I were setting up the smoothie cups, we were trying to come up with “jokes” to play with the enrichment. We decided to put all their toys for the day inside an old trash can, and “leave behind” some things we normally don’t let the chimps have. We left a disinfectant container (with tea instead of disinfectant of course) and a gum container with just a couple pieces of gum in it, plus some kitchen utensils and other chimp-safe things we could find. This part of the day’s enrichment went much better than the first April Fool’s joke we played on the chimps! They loved it.
Jamie was the first to open the trash can of enrichment, and Annie was very interested, too.
Jody found the “disinfectant” tea first:
And Jamie also took an interest:
Sometimes, Annie will sit out on Young’s Hill to just take in the view and feel the sun on her back, even if no one is sitting there with her. We used to say that Annie wouldn’t do much without Missy by her side, but that’s not how we describe Annie anymore. She is fine being on her own.
It’s only for a short while though, because of course her friend Missy will run out to play chase at full speed.
Because humans use verbal language to communicate, we often don’t notice all the subtle nonverbal cues we give off during interactions with others. Working directly with another species definitely makes you notice those cues, both in nonhuman animals and in humans. Sometimes if someone misinterprets what you are saying or doing, you have to almost exaggerate the opposite cues to make sure they don’t keep thinking you were purposely being mean.
An easy example is when dogs are playing, and if one dog starts to think things are becoming more aggressive, they may snarl and bark and seem somewhat threatening. If the other play partner wants to make sure things don’t get out of control, they will play bow really low to the ground, wag their tail with enthusiasm, and make sure their teeth are not bared. The opposite cues are standing tall, hair up, and teeth bared, and that is how they show aggression. The same can be said for chimps, as well. They have opposite cues for opposite circumstances. When trying to be aggressive, they stand up, swagger, pant hoot, and show all their top teeth to demonstrate how intimidating they are. Opposite behaviors are bowing down, showing a play face (hiding their top teeth), bobbing their head, laughing, and so on to show they are being playful.
Sometimes play can get kind of exciting, and there is a fine line between play and threat. The other day I was playing with Foxie and we were stomping and she was hitting the ceiling. Though she was definitely playing with me, Negra couldn’t see Foxie’s play face and misinterpreted her actions as a threat. Negra started to swagger and pant hoot and her hair was standing up a bit. Foxie quickly wanted to let Negra know she was not at all being aggressive and so she was extremely exaggerated in her play behaviors. She approached Negra with a low posture and really big play face, laugh, and playfully slapped the ground. Negra understood what was going on and began to chase Foxie across the loft and the catwalk of the playroom (at Neggie speed, of course) and I was able to catch the tail end of this play session. You can see how Foxie is continuing to use everything in her arsenal to make sure Negra knows she means to be playful.