Blog: Kecil Orangutan

Enrichment for Orangutans, Enrichment for Kecil

Enrichment for orangutan
Orangutans in Tropic World reach for peanut butter on the wall (left); Kekasih Orangutan enjoys a block of flavored ice (right).

Have you ever wondered why there are blocks of colored flavored ice hanging on vines in the orangutan exhibit in Tropic World?  Have you noticed that at times there is peanut butter smeared high up on the walls of the exhibit? There is a purpose behind these things and we call it enrichment.  Enrichment is defined as the dynamic process for enhancing an animal’s environment within the context of the animal’s behavioral biology and natural history. In other words, in order to enhance an animal’s welfare, we provide stimulating activities for the animals we care for. 
In the wild orangutans spend a majority of their day “working for a living”.  They have to spend a large amounts of time looking for and processing food which can be scarce at times.  Here, food is readily available for them and there are no predators to avoid.  To challenge our orangutans and keep them problem solving and engaged in their environment, we challenge them to find, uncover, reach up to, and obtain treats that they love to eat!  Enrichment is a very important aspect of daily care for all the animals at Brookfield Zoo, no matter the animal’s age or species.

Enrichment for Maggie and Kecil Orangutan
Kecil and Maggie look for hidden treats under a pile of wood chips; Climbing is another form of enrichment for Kecil.

Kecil Orangutan diving into a pile of wood chips for hidden treats

Although Kecil is only 1 year old, he enjoys engaging with a variety of enrichment items.  Whether it is exploring a new enclosure, sharing delicious ice treats with Maggie, or watching the other group of orangutans, enrichment is a big part of Kecil’s life. Some of his favorites include puzzle feeders with applesauce, wood chips with hidden treats, cardboard boxes, and shredded paper. Enrichment has also helped facilitate Kecil’s locomotive development by encouraging him to climb around his enclosures. We are able to move around vines and structural items to allow him to advance his climbing abilities. We also are giving him access to enclosures he normally does not have access to so he is able to comfortably explore new places. Enrichment is a very important part of Kecil’s life and a big part of our jobs as zookeepers. Check out these fun photos of the orangutans and Kecil engaged in enrichment and be on the lookout for enrichment next time you visit Brookfield Zoo!
- The Tropic World Asia Keepers
KLOG entry: January 20, 2015
Gave shredded paper to Kecil for the first time. He was very eager to explore this and dove face first into large pile of shredded paper. He was later seen flailing his arms and throwing shredded paper as Maggie sat nearby.
KLOG entry: January 28, 2015
Maggie and Kecil were given puzzle feeders with jelly today. Maggie was quick to use a stick to fish jelly out of the puzzle feeders. Kecil stuck his hand out of the enclosure and used his fingers to get the jelly. Both were engaging in this enrichment for 30+ minutes.

Adopt Kecil

Posted: 2/18/2015 10:08:29 AM by Filed under: Animal Welfare, Brookfield Zoo, Kecil, Maggie, Orangutan, Primates

Ferd Klamik
Nice Job. I would never had thought of that, but you are trained or someone has kids of there own.
4/3/2015 6:16:02 PM

Kecil Orangutan

Updates on baby orangutan Kecil who arrived at Brookfield Zoo on June 20, 2014 to be introduced to a surrogate mom, Maggie, the zoo’s 53-year-old Bornean orangutan.


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