Our goal is to simulate for our monkey residents the life they would be living in the wild, where they travel and forage for food and enrichment. As such, we provide opportunities for our monkeys to move readily between indoor and outdoor environments, forage for treats within these spaces, and explore novel objects.
Our sanctuary includes large indoor and outdoor enclosures that the monkeys can travel between via elevated walkways. We place treats such as sunflower seeds and raisins on the ground and in the straw bedding to stimulate foraging behavior. All of the monkeys receive two forms of enrichment daily, which is planned by our Primate Behavior Specialist. Enrichment includes food puzzles, magazines with honey and seeds, stuffed KONG toys, music, and movies. We also feed the monkeys periodically throughout the day because doing so more closely mimics their foraging behavior in the wild. The monkeys snack on various fruits and vegetables as well as their monkey chow, which contains all of the vitamins and proteins they need.
We also coordinate volunteer days during which staff and volunteers plant vegetation for the monkeys and incorporate branches into their enclosures. Although it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, we would one day love to construct even bigger enclosures around the existing trees on the property.
Finally, even though most of the monkeys are housed in small groups of two or three, they are keenly aware of one another and are also enriched by each other’s sights and sounds. They also get to know and trust sanctuary staff as primates in the troop. Staff can even safely groom the monkeys with a backscratcher if they display “presenting” behaviors.