Enrichment comes in many forms—food enrichment, social enrichment, object enrichment, and structural enrichment—but sometimes the most enriching things are completely unintentional. Nearly two years ago, JB took out the extremely heavy drain covers we used to have and exchanged them for lightweight covers. They are much easier to handle for the humans, but also much more likely the chimps could get it. However, the covers are durable and pose no danger to the chimps, so the risk of them grabbing it versus practically breaking our backs every time we had to lift the heavy drain cover was worth it!
After JB put in the new covers, we took bets on when the chimps (particularly Jamie) would get it. I guessed about 20 minutes after they had access to the playroom. Diana guessed that night while the humans were away, and JB guessed within 48 hours. We were all wrong! Twenty-three months was the actual answer. We didn’t see how she got it, but when we came into the chimp area a few days ago, Jamie had removed the drain cover, finally.
After removing it, she proceeded to clean it with some scraps of paper. Annie was very interested in watching her—I’m sure they know it is something they aren’t really supposed to have. (Kind of like this time we played keep-away with a laundry basket).
You’ll notice in the video that there is quite a mess in the playroom—it was the day after the Lunar New Year party, so there was a lot to clean up. Once breakfast was brought out, Jamie dropped the drain cover and exited the playroom so we could enter to retrieve it and clean up the party. As far as I am aware she hasn’t bothered to get the drain cover since, but it certainly was enriching for her that morning.