Primates: Provide live vegetation in planters for foraging

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • 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.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. 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)

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E. & Smith, R.K. (2020) Management of Captive Animals. Pages 527-553 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Management of Captive Animals

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Management of Captive Animals
Management of Captive Animals

Management of Captive Animals - Published 2018

Captive Animal Synopsis

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust