We’ve been enjoying a return visit of zookeeper Sophie Miller, from Australia (a.k.a. “Oz”). She very fond of gibbons and last visited us two years ago with a couple of her fellow gibbon-loving friends from Down Under.
Speedy (in the background above) and Maui watched eagerly as Sophie started to hand around the treat bags.
She also enjoys Halloween and related phenomena (like vampires). Today she suggested that our gibbons might like some special Halloween treat bags: paper bags filled with hay and goodies, including Cheerios, apricots, popcorn, and dried craisins. Just for fun, Sophie and our caregiver Samantha decorated the bags with ghosts, bats, and assorted Halloween greetings.
We filled the bags with popcorn and dried fruit hidden in hay.
We weren’t sure just how much our gibbons would like these, since sometimes they can be a little suspicious….
Helen (the grabby one) and Peppy were extremely enthusiastic about their goodie bag. Once they got hold of it, they immediately scurried up to their lookout tower. They didn’t tear the bag apart to get at the good stuff; instead they took turns reaching in and scooping out handfuls of popcorn from the bag like date night at the movies. It was impossible to photograph them through the wire mesh, but, believe me, they were adorable!
Louie here got the spooky bag first, but then he and Michelle took turns snatching it back and forth from each other.
Blackie happily talked to himself while discombobulating his bag. His companion Chloe missed out, since she was too busy trying to harass the caregivers!
You can see Tong’s dark tongue as she extracts her bits of popcorn.
Gus peers intently into his very own bag.
Maynard took his treat bag to the roof of his doggie igloo, where he often likes to perch.
Maui, below, thoroughly checked out their treat bag while Speedy cautiously observed from a distance.
Contrary to our expectations, Igor was not shy about checking out his treat bag. However, he eventually became distracted by the approach of the lunch cart….
Arun Rangsi to Shanti: “Hey, honey, whatcha got there?”
I asked Sophie how she gets her ideas for gibbon enrichment at Mogo Zoo (about four hours south of Sydney, where she has been a gibbon keeper for the past five years and has recently started caring for gorillas, too). She said that she and her fellow keepers just sit around and brainstorm until they come up with something together. We’ve enjoyed having her here and getting ideas about future treats and tricks for the gibbons.