Plants of the Apes

Plants of the Apes

As you probably know, chimpanzees are largely fruit, nut and foliage consumers. While central Oregon’s desert climate is not exactly similar to the lush, equatorial belt of central Africa, chimps are nothing if not adaptive. And for the residents of Chimps Inc., one of their favorite things about Bend’s long summer days is picking out goodies from our vibrant garden.

Because the garden doesn’t grow in the actual enclosure (it would never make it past the seedling phase if it did!), that means that the chimps rely on one of our dedicated staff to pluck their spoils for them. Nothing says “summer picnic” like food fresh from the earth, and Patti especially loves a helping of crunchy lettuce leaves, herbaceous marigolds, and spicy cilantro.  It’s not unlike her to get the caregivers’ attention, motion for them to follow her around the perimeter fence line, and then point out the exact items that she wants from the vegetable beds. Then, with her hands full of greens and yellows, Patti settles into her favorite chair and enjoys a midday summer salad. The garden is the perfect built-in enrichment!

A huge thank you to Chimps Inc.’s Mary Ann, who lovingly tends to the flower, vegetable, and herb beds during each one of her volunteer shifts. Weeding, watering, and some green-thumb expertise ensures that the chimps have a bountiful summer. We couldn’t do it without you, Mary Ann!


Monica S., Executive Assistant