Mirror enrichment amuses the chimps at Tacugama

Primate behaviourist Caroline Griffis with Tacugama staff members Daniel Jawara and Murray Lamin

Here at Tacugama we’ve been very lucky to have had the help of volunteers with special skills. Most recently, primate behaviourist Caroline has been with us for the last two months, focusing on enrichment and positive reinforcement training (more on that in a future post). An example of enrichment was placing mirrors within view of the enclosures. The youngest chimps do not always understand, and appear afraid of this ‘unknown chimp’ they are seeing for the first time. If they can reach the mirror, they often try to look behind it or move their hand behind it, to try to find out where this new chimp is actually located. The older chimps can recognize themselves and have fun pulling faces or jumping up and down in front of the mirror. See photos below of Alex’s group.

Animal care staff member Murray Lamin preparing the permanent set up while the chimps enjoy the temporary set up, inspecting themselves en masse.

Close up of the chimps in Alex’s group inspecting themselves in the mirror. Alpha male Spana is in prime position (visible just left of the mirror).

Jumping up and down in front of the mirror.

Curious looks on the first day the mirror was placed

Curious looks on the first day the mirror was placed.

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