Sign up for our Newsletter

Support Honolulu Zoological Society on AmazonSmile

The Honolulu Zoo Society has joined AmazonSmile, a simple and automatic way for you to support the Honolulu Zoological Society every time you shop, at no cost to you.
Learn More...
Shop AmazonSmile

Chimp Enrichment

A man-made termite mound with fixed tubes containing chimp gruel provides many hours of enrichment. To find out the details of the termite mound construction click here.


The chimps use sticks which they find in the exhibit to dip into the holes and like termites, the mixture adheres to their sticks. Sometimes they will modify a stick that is not doing a good enough job.


The gruel is a mixture of cooked oatmeal, peanut butter, honey and flavoring. The chimps tend to be very deliberate and careful when foraging at the termite mound, with the activity lasting the whole day, if enough tubes were filled with food. Even the 1 1/2 year old chimp was trying his hand at using a stick tool.


Volunteers kept daily log of activity at the mound. At times there were large groups crowded around the mound busy using their tools. Volunteer observers recorded that over a 5 day period (40 hours of observations) that a chimps were foraging on the mound 67% of the time.

Every morning the keeper hides part of the chimps' diet, mostly fruits and vegetables, out in the exhibit to stimulate the natural behavior of foraging.