Despite unrealized fears earlier this month that Halloween pumpkins might be hard to come by, there is a bounty of the orange gourds at Chimp Haven, where the pie-style nibblers are a special treat – no costumes or door-knocking required.
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Description automatically generated“Chimpanzees enjoy choice and variety just like people do,” said Rana Smith, Chimp Haven president and CEO. “Holidays like Halloween give us a great opportunity to provide the chimps with new, enriching experiences and the chance to sample interesting healthy foods, which for chimpanzees who enjoy fresh fruits is real treat.”
The pumpkins served at Chimp Haven are the type most typically cooked and baked into pies or pureed into soups rather than being carved into jack-o-lanterns, but no cooking is required for the chimps to enjoy their holiday treats.
“Some chimpanzees might play with their pumpkins a bit before taking little nibbles, others will crack them open and scoop up the insides, and still others will bite down like it’s a crisp, juicy apple,” Smith said. “The uniqueness of each chimpanzee is always a delight to watch.”
Chimp Haven serves fresh produce to the chimpanzees twice per day, which includes leafy greens; non-leafy vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers and broccoli; a starch such sweet potatoes, and a special fruit.
Chimp Haven is a private, nonprofit refuge on 200 acres of forested land in Northwest Louisiana, and home to more than 330 chimps retired from biomedical research. The organization is currently working to complete a crucial sanctuary expansion campaign, which will allow it to welcome more chimpanzees to retirement at Chimp Haven. For information, visit chimphaven.org/expansion/ . To take a virtual tour, visit chimphaven.org/visit/digital-tour/