PHOTO OPP: MEDIA ARRIVE TO MAIN OFFICE 1/31 at 10:30a.m.
West Palm Beach, FL –On Thursday, January 31st, Lion Country Safari’s chimpanzees will share their pick for the winners of Super Bowl LIII. The park’s chimpanzees will have an opportunity to select between bright, colorful enrichments representing the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. As the chimpanzees shift from one island to the next around 11:00a.m., they will race to grab their favorite items and predict by popularity the winner of this year’s Super Bowl.
Lion Country Safari has an exceptional enrichment program, with animals receiving mentally and/or physically stimulating food, items, or activities daily. By providing the animals in their care with this enrichment, the park can provide holistic care for the animals. “We truly believe that happy animals are healthy animals, here at Lion Country Safari,” says Brian Dowling, Wildlife Director. Part of the fun of enrichments is providing variety, with enrichments often being themed around major holidays and events. The Super Bowl provides a great opportunity to enhance the enrichment program and join in on the fun.
The chimpanzees look forward to their enrichments daily, especially enrichments such as the papier-mâché Super Bowl-themed items, which provide opportunities for them to forage or tear open the boxes. “We know that they’re really happy because chimpanzees express their emotions in a variety of ways—happiness, for example, is often conveyed through smiles, enthusiastic hugs, and loud vocalizations called ‘pant hoots,’” says Curator of Conservation, Research, and Chimpanzees Dr. Tina Cloutier Barbour.
Chimpanzees, currently classified as endangered due to a population decrease across Africa, face a number of threats to their existence. Habitat loss, disease, and wildlife trafficking are all major contributing factors to the species’ decline. SSP programs, such as the Chimpanzee SSP, allow zoos to care for healthy, genetically viable populations of threatened and endangered animals whose reproduction helps to ensure the survival of the species.