chimpanzee is unsing a stick to get food

In the wild, searching for food is one of the most important activities that apes engage in. In the zoo, however, our apes receive high quality food, and therefore do not have to actively forage.

Apes are also very social. They travel, feed and rest together, and when resting they may play with each other or groom partners. Because they do not need to forage nor travel over long distances, apes can become bored in captive settings. In order to prevent this, the WKPRC has installed ropes and trees for the apes to climb on.

We also provide shaking boxes and poking bins; to get the food out of the poking bins, the apes must use tools. These additions to the zoo allow the apes to engage in activities more like their natural social and foraging behaviours.

Additionally, the WKPRC provides enrichment materials for the apes daily at 3:30 p.m.

Here you can find some simple, inexpensive suggestions for enrichment materials. Apes enjoy a wide variety of enrichment articles.


Please download the manual demonstrating how to make enrichment items:

--> How to make enrichments (pdf, 2 MB)

--> Clues for giving enrichment (pdf)

Please download the manual demonstrating how to make food boxes:

--> How to make food boxes (pdf)

Find some examples:

Jute parcel

  • cut a peace of jute (23x30 cm) & put 1 teaspoon of cereal in the middle
  • fold the jute lengthwise every 10 cm, starting from the bottom
  • then fold both ends inwards to produce a square
  • pull 3 fibers (each 20 cm long) out of the jute and tie the packet with them (tie every fiber separately)
food packet - Jute, picture 1food packet - Jute, picture 2

Paper parcel

food packet - Paper, picture 1
  • brush one side of a paper rectangle (33x40 cm) with a flour-water-mix & put 1 teaspoon of cereal in the middle of the bottom half
  • fold the rectangle twice starting from the bottom
  • brush both sides with the flour-water-mix
  • fold one end twice inwards
  • turn the rectangle & fold the other end twice inwards
  • let it dry

>> How to make the food packet (paper) as pdf

Jute Piñata

  • cut 8 rectangles of jute (12x10 cm)
  • blow up 1 balloon (diameter of 15 cm) & tie the end of the balloon with 1 jute fiber (length ≈ 8 cm)
  • mix 3 tablespoons of flour (40 g) with 60 ml water
  • dip the piece of jute in the flour-water-mix & glue it on the balloon (leave a hole at the top of the balloon)
  • after the balloon dries, cut the fiber tying the balloon and remove the balloon (the balloon is at most reusable 2 times)
  • cut 8 pieces of jute (12x10 cm) & apply a 2 nd coating of jute (still leaving the balloon hole open)
  • after the balloon dries, fill it with 1 teaspoon of cereal; then cut 2 pieces of jute a 12x10 cm, brush them with the flour-water-mix, and close the hole at the top
  • let the piñata dry again
Big Piñata (Jute), picture 1Big Piñata (Jute)
chimpanzee Robert with 4 Piñatasgorilla (Viringika) with Piñata
chimpanzee (Robert) with piñatas  gorilla (Viringika) with piñata

Double Jute Knot

Food Knot (Jute)
  • cut a triangle of jute a 3 x 4 x 4.6 cm & put 1 teaspoon of cereal on the bottom corner
  • roll up the triangle of jute starting from the bottom corner
  • knot the ends doubly, triply or more if necessary (for more than 3 knots you need a bigger piece of jute)
  • to increase the difficulty of opening the food knot, it can brushed with the flour-water-mix & dried again (s. left picture: right knot untreated; left one brushed with flour-water-mix)

>> How to make the food knot pdf

Pini - Orangutan with Food Knot (Jute)
Pini (Orangutan) with food knot (paper)

Bamboo stick

  • Saw off 1 peace of bamboo off, so that only one end is left open
  • Using a thin stick or something similar, put 1 teaspoon of cereal in the bamboo
  • close the hole with 2-3 raisins depending on how big it is
bamboo picture 1bamboo picture 2bamboo picture 3
Bonobo is fishing the food out of the Bamboo
Bonobo with bamboo

Muesli coil

  • brush flour-water mix on both side of a jute rectangle (20x25 cm) & put 1 teaspoon of cereal in the middle of the bottom
  • coil the jute from the bottom up; then twist the coil & brush it again with the water-flour-mix; afterwards let it dry
Muesli CoilMuesli Coil, picture 2

Food plait paper

  • divide 1 teaspoon of cereal onto 3 paper strips (50x20 cm)
  • roll up every strip
  • tie 2 strips together twice at one end (s. left picture) & wrap the 3 rd strip around the knot end
  • braid all 3 strips together & tie the ends together
  • brush the food plait with the flour-water-mix let it dry
Food Plait, picture 1Food Plait, picture 2
Food Plait, picture 3Food Plait, picture 4

more manuals with pictures: