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Training chimps with a frisbee at Lion Country Safari

Innovative programs happening at Loxahatchee venue
Higgy is the Alpha male chimpanzee at Lion Country Safari.  He takes what he wants from the others his keepers use a frisbee to medicate the other chimps in the troupe.
Posted at 3:33 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 15:33:12-04

Watch Part 1: Training A Chimp with a Frisbee
Meet Higgy, a chimpanzee at Lion Country Safari. He is the alpha male of his troupe. And as the dominant, he can take anything he wants from the others including their heart and diabetic medications (that he doesn't need). So Lion Country had to figure out a way, using a frisbee, to keep him to stay put as the others receive medicines.

Watch Part 1: Training A Chimp with a Frisbee

Watch Part 2: In-Depth Interview with Dr. Tina Coutier Barbour Ph.D. as she talks about:

  • The new groundbreaking way they take an EKG of a chimpanzee
  • How they build relationships of trust with their animals
  • What causes the changes in dynamics of the troupe and how does one become the alpha male
Watch Part 2: Training A Chimp with a Frisbee

Watch Part 3: In-Depth Interview with Dr. Tina Coutier Barbour Ph.D. as she talks about:

  • How they recognize issues with the chimpanzees and fix them
  • How they are helping preserve the chimpanzee population
  • How baby chimps have white "bunny tails"
  • How the chimpanzee islands at Lion Country Safari work
  • The threats to the chimpanzee population
Watch Part 3: Training A Chimp with a Frisbee

Lion Country Safari's Chimpanzee Fun Facts

  • Higgy just turned 48 years old.
  • When a female chimpanzee is in estrus or is fertile, a male chimpanzee will become more interested in her and prefers that female to stay close by.
  • Chimpanzee hierarchy is often determined or established through conflict. Alpha males are generally both strong and socially adept to obtain and maintain their position.
  • Chimpanzees at Lion Country Safari live on island habitats. Since chimpanzees do not swim, the water creates a natural boundary. The chimpanzees also shift from island to island every day, which replicates their nomadic lifestyle in the wild where they would be frequently on the move in search of food.