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      Hilda Tresz                                                                                               Global Volunteer Work

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    Brazil    

Location Brazil

                Belo Horizonte Zoo                                                                                           

 

September 25 – 28, 2017

Goal

To reunite a 29-year-old male chimpanzee (Serafim) with his son (16-year-old, Lunga) and Lunga’s half-sister on their mother’s side (Dorothea, 37-year-old) during a short, three day visit.

Chimpanzees

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Lunga

Doroteia (2)
     
Serafim(left) date of birth: 11/01/1988 at Barcelona Zoo – Serafim is Lunga’s father  
Lunga(center) date of birth: 28/10/2001 at Belo Horizonte Zoo  
Doroteia (right) date of birth: 20/02/1980 at Belo Horizonte Zoo – Dorotéia is Lunga’s half-sister on their mother's side. Their mother died in 2010 when she was approximately 46-years-old (estimated date of birth was 1964)

Serafim was separated and moved to the veterinarian hospital on 8 January 2016 for diabetes treatment until his condition was stabilized. He was properly trained for glucose measurement and for insulin injections, and in September 2017, the Veterinary Section was ready to discharge him. Staff was apprehensive to reintroduce the chimpanzees since they were apart for so long; although the two males generally got along just fine, they did have aggressive encounters.  
Lunga and Dorothea were housed in a dry moat enclosure (Serafim also lived there before he was removed for the treatment). The holding area of this enclosure was not suitable for an introduction because it had little visibility between rooms, thus, preventing proper observation of behaviors.
The zoo had an extra sector more appropriate for this introduction – a quarantine for gorillas, with larger rooms and good visibility of the animals. First, Serafim was transferred there; the other two chimpanzees were taken there while I was flying out. This way they had a chance to wake up next to each other and socialize through the fence. The introduction was successful, and the chimpanzees have been together ever since without any problems.
 Click on Picture( above) for Video this will take you off site

 

The zoo has a luxurious, large, green and well-furnished chimpanzee exhibit. The off-exhibit areas lacked substrate.  Hay was added immediately to soften the surface and encourage foraging. 
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Behavioral Enrichment Representatives
Suggestions: To facilitate a more organized enrichment program, each area could have a BE Representative  coordinating enrichment and serving as the liaison between managers and keepers. The Phoenix Zoo has implemented a similar program for over 15 years.  

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 Other species

The zoo is extremely large, almost looking like a safari park. Cars can drive through the zoo as well. Most animals are housed in large exhibits and proper social settings. The zoo has a very good training  and enrichment program.

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                Click Pictures for videos- This will take you off site.

Off-exhibit areas and correct substrate use  

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Some off-exhibit areas are very outdated, and animals are kept on concrete (including elephants). Special attention needs to be paid to all the small enclosures, night houses and other off-exhibit holding areas where animals spend an average of 14 - 17 hours in concrete/bar enclosures or situations where an animal needs to be kept isolated for any reason with reduced chance for exploratory behaviors.

This practice creates poor mental and physical conditions for the animals.  Substrate was added to hard surface areas.

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Suggestions: Continuing to keep animals off very hot or very cold, persistently wet, unyielding surfaces (brick, concrete, tile, etc.) would be desirable. The use of appropriate substrate (inside: paper products, hay or straw, etc.; outside: nonflammable materials such as grass, sand, soil, mulch, fresh browse, etc.) will make a significant difference not only in the animals’ health but also in improvement of the exhibit aesthetics. 

Extending Foraging Time
Animals were generally not able to carry out species-appropriate behaviors, particularly foraging. Most species ate for a short period of time when the diet was provided. The remainder of the time, animals were largely inactive or exhibiting stereotypic behaviors.

Suggestions: All animals need to be fed in a way that extends foraging time and encourages species-appropriate behaviors. The use of puzzle feeders would be desirable to follow a contra freeloading program. Please see Appendix I to review a list of puzzle feeders that are utilized by the Phoenix Zoo.

 

General Suggestions for Elephant Care

Sand needs to be added at a depth of one meter. Elephants cannot be kept on concrete. It is very hard on their feet and joints, and causes severe medical problems.  
   
Besides sand covering the floor, the elephants need a larger pile of sand (approximately two meters high) to lie down upon.

The animals should have continuous, free access to food by using feeder devices (e.g., food placed inside metal kegs with holes, hay bags, etc.), primarily suspended above the elephants

Hay bags can be woven from ropes. The nets from International Cordage are made specifically for elephants. The Zoo must contact the company for details about rope, size, etc. The Phoenix Zoo was the first zoo to incorporate the nets; however, our nets are prototypes. http://www.international-cordage.net/ 

Elephants need to receive large edible tree branches every day (please see attached browse list for elephants). Tires can be hung from chains as enrichment.  

 

The following presentations were provided: Various Translations can also be found on the Enrichment page.

CHIMPANZEE: TO UNDERSTAND, TO MENTOR, TO SAVE. What makes chimpanzees special, and why do they deserve our special attention more than any other species? I conveyed the intelligence, described the sensitive minds and illustrated the social and physical needs of the chimpanzee.

CONTRA FREELOADING. This presentation taught how best to feed the animals. Rather than quickly eating a provided diet, animals should be allowed to forage in a manner that is similar to their conspecifics to the wild.

THE LACK OF SUBSTRATE USE IN ZOOS. Addressed the easy method to remedy empty cages by providing substrate. This presentation demonstrated the difference made in the animals’ lives when they do not have to sit in empty concrete cages. This is probably the most important presentation to improving animal welfare.

LET THEM BE ELEPHANTS (Chinese). I described how the Phoenix Zoo’s enrichment program helped us to have happier, mentally healthier animals. I also addressed some foot work to help keep their feet in better shape and prevent the suffering that wet concrete can cause (which includes the possibility of early euthanasia).

FREE CHIMPANZEE ENRICHMENT. Sometimes providing enrichment is challenging due to a lack of an adequate budget. However, necessity is the mother of invention! This presentation is a collection of enrichment ideas made from free household products, recycled materials and donated items by the most dedicated staffs working with chimpanzees around the world. These enrichment products provided invaluable moments for the chimpanzees in different zoos. 

 

I would like to thank the Belo Horizonte Zoo’s director and staff for inviting me to improve their animals’ welfare. I would also like to thank Dr. Mary Lewis for funding this trip and establishing such a wonderful working relationship between the Jane Goodall Institute, the Phoenix Zoo and the Belo Horizonte Zoo.  

Hilda Tresz

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