Ice ice baby: Chimps cool off with frozen treats

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of our chimpanzees tucks into a frozen treat

Edinburgh Zoo’s chimpanzees have a special reason to enjoy this week’s heat wave. To help keep the chimps cool, keepers have been preparing some much-loved frozen treats. 

Dee Masters, team leader of the Budongo Trail and Living Links said: “The frozen treats are a lot like healthy ice lollies.  We mix fruit juice and chopped fruit, sometimes honey and peanuts too, and freeze them.

“We do all sorts of different flavours, even herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint, but tomorrow we’ll be giving them blackcurrant juice with pieces of banana frozen inside, and frozen mashed banana with wheat.  It’s a big treat for our chimpanzees, so we are expecting lots of excited ‘pant hoot’ calls, which is how our chimps communicate that there is something good to eat.”

“In the wild chimpanzees live on a hugely varied diet, so it is important we offer them a lot of variety. Root vegetables such as carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes, which are high in fibre and good for their digestive system, are a daily staple for our chimps.  We also give them sweet fruits like apple, melon and pears. Then there are novel foods which are used as a source of enrichment— these can be food items including peanuts, raisins and sunflower seeds and can be hidden in paper sacks and boxes to encourage natural foraging behaviours.”

Cooling off in the shade

Edinburgh Zoo’s specially built facility Budongo Trail is home to a group of 21 chimpanzees.  Chimpanzees are under threat from habitat destruction and hunting for the illegal pet and bush meat trade.  They are classed as endangered by the IUCN Red List meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.


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