1. Long Distance Road Transportation of Hippopotamus
    2. Population Control By Segregation Of Blackbucks At Kanpur Zoo
    3. Biosecure feed store at Kanpur Zoological Park
    4.Chimpanzee enclosure enrichment
4.Chimpanzee enclosure enrichment


By K.Praveen Rao, IFS, Ex Director, Kanpur Zoological Park, Kanpur, U.P.

Introduction - Chimpanzees belong to the family Hominidae , the other well-known members of this family are humans, gorillas and orangutans. The male chimpanzee is around 1.7 m tall and the female is somewhat smaller. The chimpazee’s arms are longer than its legs;  the arms are one and a half times as long as the body’s height.  They use their long, powerful arms for climbing trees. While walking on the ground, chimpanzees use their knuckles for support with their hands clenched, a form of locomotion called knuckle-walking. Chimpanzee feet are better suited for walking and can walk upright on two legs because their soles are broader and the toes shorter. When carrying any food in their hands they tend to walk on the feet. The chimpanzee has mostly frugivorous diet.

Trimming the branches


Figure 3-Taking the tree to the pit

Chimpanzees natural habitat is the rainforest, although wild chimpanzees are also known to inhabit swamp, savannahs, woodlands, and bamboo forests. Chimps in the wild spend equal time on land and in trees, but they do most of their eating and sleeping up in the forest canopy. 

Chimpanzees live in large multiple-male and multiple-female social groups called communities. Within a community, a definite social hierarchy is dictated by the position of an individual and

Figure 4-Placing the tree inside the pit

 the influence the individual has on others. Chimpanzees make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays. Chimpanzee tool usage includes digging into termite mounds with a large stick tool, and then using a small stick that has been altered to "fish" the termites out.  Chimps communicate in a manner similar to human nonverbal communication, using vocalizations, hand gestures, and facial expressions.


Chimpanzee enclosure in Kanpur Zoo – Kanpur zoological park has a very big dry moated island enclosure for the chimpanzee. The island is in the shape of  Figure 5-Erecting the tree

parabola/circular. The open island is connected to sleeping cells. The open enclosure has a small tree and a cement concrete umbrella shaped shade. The chimp takes knuckle walking down in to the moat and up on to the top of the island and then towards in sleeping cell gate. It keeps repeating this circular walk at regular intervals and sometimes gets on to the small tree for a while. When it is up on the tree wags the hands. While taking circular movements picks up small rubble inside the enclosure and throws it on to the visitors. From time immemorial it was trained for taking out its tongue, clap and ask for fruits.

Enclosure enrichment - After observing these stereotypic movements in the animal, we have decided to take up enrichment of the enclosure so that the animal can spend more time in keeping itself busy and not to interact too much with the visitors. Otherwise the visitors to make it conscious do some vandal acts like throwing

Figure 6-Chimp inspecting the development

 stones on to it, so that it reacts and retaliates back.This is a fun for the visitors.

                The animal being arboreal in nature and the enclosure has only a small tree and a concrete shade it was decided to go for a big tree and ropes inside the enclosure. This would substitute for its arboreal habits and helps in hanging on the ropes.

                Kanpur zoo is spread in a very big area and has undulating terrain. The soil is sandy and is an extension of ‘Khadar’ areas of Ganges. Khadar areas are the extension of sandy riverside bed. These khaddar areas exten

Figure 7-Chimp testing the rope

d further in to Bangar areas which are sandy ravenous areas. The zoo is a bangar area. The zoo was artificially planted by Neem (Azadiracta indica), Jamun (Sigyzyum cuminii), Chilbil (Holoptelia integrifolia),Shisham( Dalbergia sissoo) etc., During rains some of the trees get uprooted and fall. Two big fallen dead and dry trees of shisham were selected which were more than seven meters in height and has a fork at the top. The forked top was pollarded to give proper strength and the protruding roots were cut.


Figure 8-Chimp enjoying the elevation

                The trees that were selected were almost 1 ½ kms away from the enclosure. It was very difficult to carry them manually. Hence a crane was engaged for this purpose. One dry tree was uploaded each time and carried to the enclosure. Inside the chimp enclosure pits of about 1.25mts deep were dug on the top of the island at a distance of about 15 mts apart. Care was taken to see that the animal cannot jump outside the enclosure from the top or with the help of ropes tied to the trees. The tree was unloaded in the enclosure and was painted one meter from the lower end with Black japan, so that it is not attacked by termites.The tree was rolled manually near the pit and with the help of pullies the tree was made to stand inside the pit. The pit was filled with rubble and sand so that it stands erect. Strong jute ropes were tied on the forking of the tree top and the remaining rope was tied to the cement concrete shade. So that, the animal has much freedom for moving on the ropes. Ropes were passed through the Jeep tyres which were placed on the top rope.

                The entire operation took about three days. All these days the animal remained inside the sleeping/ retiring cells. Immediately after the work was over the animal was allowed in to paddock. The chimp came out in open and was astonished to see the new developments inside its territory. It carefully observed every new development. Then it tested the strength of ropes. It gradually climbed up and up and went on to the top of the fork and stood on it and saw the aerial view of its enclosure and the surroundings. Sometimes it stands on the ropes and walks on them, sits on the top fork and enjoys its fruits.

                Thus we could complete one mission of enriching the enclosure of chimpanzee with large tree so that it fulfills its arboreal nature. The entire operation was caught on my blackberry mobile phone camera. The selected series of photographs are enclosed for the visual experience.

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