(last car admitted into the preserve at 4:30PM)
On Thursday, 12/15/2022, at 10:30AM, Tonk, a baby chimpanzee born at Lion Country Safari late last year, will celebrate his first Christmas at the park’s annual Christmas with the Chimps. During this event, Santa makes a special visit to the safari and his helpers deliver presents by boat to the park’s chimpanzees. It’s the only event of the year where guests are permitted out of their vehicles in the final section of the preserve (at the chimp islands) to join in the festivities. Christmas with the Chimps is open to the public and is included with paid admission. Guests should arrive by 9:30AM to allow travel time to the chimp islands.
“The keepers work hard to produce new, exciting things for the chimpanzees to encourage specific behaviors such as foraging, play and nesting. At Christmas with the Chimps, guests get a special opportunity to see the chimps receive novel enrichment items in the form of wrapped Christmas presents, which are stuffed with bedding material, blankets, and treats like cereal, nuts, and dried fruit. Chimpanzees get just as excited about presents as we do!” says Kelly Freyder, Lion Country Safari’s Primate Curator. The chimpanzees and other animals will continue to receive holiday-themed enrichments leading up to Christmas.
Lion Country Safari cares for 17 chimpanzees (in 3 social groups), ranging in age from less than 1 year to 54 years of age, who reside on a series of island habitats. Lion Country Safari's great ape habitat is unique in that the chimpanzees rotate daily across various islands interconnected by a bridge system.
Chimpanzees, currently classified as endangered to critically endangered due to a population decrease across Africa, face a number of threats to their existence, including the deforestation and mining associated with coltan production. Coltan is a mineral mined by hand in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is used in phones, tablets, and other small electronics.