Tuesday 13 May 2008
With temperatures in the mid 20s, many of us choose to sit on the grass with a nice fruit ice lolly. And even gorillas like this great way to cool down too! Watch our video.
Gorilla keeper Daniel Simmonds said: ‘In this really hot weather we are giving the gorillas huge ice lollies, made in buckets. The gorillas are impatient – this morning they have been karate chopping and kung fu kicking the ice to get to the fruit.’
To make the ice melt faster, and so get to the apples inside each block, the gorillas often rub the ice and bite at it. Another way they try to get the fruit out faster is by standing on the blocks.
The ice lollies are not given to the gorillas for fun; they are part of a careful ‘enrichment’ plan to stimulate the gorillas’ natural behaviour and curiosity.
Freezing their fruit is a perfect opportunity for the gorillas to have a go at problem solving, key natural behaviour that they exhibit when living in the complex and stimulating environment of their natural habitat.
Innovative methods of enriching the daily routines of animals are constantly being developed by ZSL staff, behavioural research students and colleagues in other organisations.
ZSL aims to carry on extending the boundaries and continue to ensure that enrichment is integral to daily keeping practice.
Watch our gorillas at Gorilla Kingdom with their ice blocks in the video below.