Daily Varied Programs at Kumamoto Sanctuary

Although duration is the most important part in enhancing psychological well-being of chimpanzees, it is rather tough to come up with new ideas everyday. Therefore, we provide varied daily programs on weekdays at Kumamoto Sanctuary, Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University(KS).

Monday's topic: Newspapers

We enwrap several nuts & seeds - such as peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seeds and so on- in a newspaper, and we form it into round shapes, like a ball. KS chimpanzees enjoy the 'newspaper balls' at their own pace. Each chimpanzee gathers as many “newspaper ball” as he/she can get, and then carries them to a quiet spot. Some chimpanzees open the paper balls carefully one by one, not to lose the nuts and seeds while munching on them. Some chimps just tears them with boldness. Several chimps occasionally reuse the newspapers when constructing their nests, (bed) daily.

Tuesday's menu: Tubes/Fire Hoses

We cut old vinyl tubes or fire hoses into some 30-40 centimeter long pieces then stuff them with soft or hard goodies (“pellet-cakes” peanuts, sunflower seeds, beans or pellets). The fire hose version takes much more time to extract the food because the fire hose is flat. Besides we make knots on the fire hose pieces, hiding the food behind them. It takes time for the chimps to open these knots to get to the seeds. Again, some chimps occasionally reuse these tubes/hoses as parts of their beds.

Wednesday's menu: Packages

We stuff many items into the cardboard boxes. The mixed content varies in type enormously. Each box can contain a variety of food items, toys, blankets, grass, branches, leaves, woodchip litter and so on. The list is endless. The chimps love them because they experience something new, a surprise! We make extra efforts to create these cardboard-box packages to make sure each would take a considerable amount of time to open them. Since they can't see the content immediately, the mystery packages make KS chimpanzees excited.

Thursday's topic: Branches

It is quite hard to keep outdoor enclosures lush and verdant. On Thursday, we bring a variety of leafy branches into outdoor enclosures, cutting them fresh in the forest near KS. KS chimpanzees enjoy the branches; they eat the leaves, chew the barks, use the branches to make a variety of tools, make beds from time to time, and so on.

Friday's menu: Honey

We pour honey into many pre-drilled holes in logs, scattered tree-trunks and branches laying around randomly in the outdoor enclosures, some as part of climbing structures or furniture. KS chimpanzees bring these honey-filled medium round trunks to their favorite resting and feeding spots and spend long minutes to extract the honey. They use a number of differently sized and shaped tools all constructed by them, that fits to get the job done. Some chimpanzees share big round trunks and honey-feeders with other members, so we can observe their interactions.

Further reading


  • If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. enrichment at saga-jp.org