Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Primates: Provide live vegetation in planters for foraging Management of Captive Animals

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One replicated, before-and-after study in the USA reported that chimpanzees spent more time foraging when provided with planted rye grass and scattered sunflower seeds compared to browse and grass added to the enclosure with their normal diet.


Supporting evidence from individual studies

A replicated, before-and-after study in 1991 in the USA (Lambeth & Bloomsmith 1994) reported that chimpanzees Pan troglodytes, provided with a foraging device containing planted rye grass and scattered sunflower seeds, spent more time foraging, compared to a feeder containing just grass, with browse added to the enclosure as their normal diet throughout, although no statistical tests were carried out. Chimpanzees foraging behaviour increased from an average of 2% when the feeder contained grass to 12% when the container contained grass with sunflower seeds.  PVC pipe cut in half lengthwise and planted with rye grass seed was attached to the outside of six different enclosures containing two or four out of the 14 chimpanzees observed in the study. All chimpanzees in all six enclosures were then given sunflower seeds added to the grass. Behavioural observations over 54 hours were conducted under the two conditions: grass container alone and grass container with scattered sunflower seeds.    (CJ)


Please cite as:

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E. & Smith, R.K. (2019) Management of Captive Animals. Pages 539-567 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.