Monkey Business!


Datesand are proud to support Vivien Gardiner and the Mona Chimpanzee Sanctuary by providing tasty treats for the animals to enjoy. 

You can read all about her latest adventure below…

Mona Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located in Girona, Northern Spain. It currently looks after 14 rescued chimpanzees (and 5 macaques).  Although they can never be returned to the wild, they are encouraged to follow their natural instincts and forage for food as they would in the wild. 

I have been a regular visitor since 2005. Over the last 2-3 years I have been taking them special primate treats sourced from Datesand.  They proved so popular with the chimps that every time I visit I have to take something!  The chimps do recognise me and now they have expectations! It is a real pleasure to create, with the carers, various enrichments which will keep the chimps occupied.  

Every day the carers prepare something for the chimps. Their daily “feeding” pattern starts with breakfasts in their bedrooms, where the carers can observe their health and well-being. They get given bread and juice (hot in the winter). This is the time when they are given any medications;  there are a few chimps, like humans, that need their daily meds to keep them healthy.  Then the second breakfast is served outside – lots of fruit and vegetables cut up and hidden in their enclosures.  They love foraging around for this.  They then have a scatter feed at lunchtime consisting of potatoes, seeds, nuts and dry bread. It’s all carefully measured so that they are not under or over fed. 

Enrichment can be given in a variety of ways.  On my recent visit, I went with an Irish friend who took some Irish flags and paper cups in the Irish colours. We draped the Irish flags around the enclosures (which the chimps loved and carried around all day) and filled the paper cups with straw and hid some of the fruit crunchies inside.  We then hid the cups around the enclosures for them to find, along with some Irish socks stuffed with straw and potato – and a couple of primate treats. The squeals of delight when they found these could be heard by everyone in the vicinity.  The first chimps to find the enrichment started calling to the others that they had found something interesting to eat.  

Soon, they were all running around jumping and swinging on the platforms – very excited. It is a real pleasure and privilege to witness this.

dscn0500At different times in the past we have used the little fruit crunchies in mashed potato cakes, stacked a few here and there or just scattered them around the enclosures for the chimps to find in the afternoons; This keeps them occupied.  What makes these primate treats so good is that they are full of nutrients – they are not empty calories – but provide the chimps with goodness. Chimps do see colours, so seeing the different colours is exciting for them. 

The day ends with their dinner, in the bedrooms, where they all get individually served to ensure they all have enough. Fruit, exotic fruit, meat, yoghurt and rice balls is a typical menu. I am now looking forward to my next visit, thinking of new ways to use the enrichment!  Thank you Datesand.

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