Ndume has many enrichment items, but above all else, he loves his plastic furniture. He always has one large plastic barrel and a few small plastic chairs in his rooms.
Some mornings, he heads outside with his red barrel in tow, only to return to his rooms at dinner time with the blue barrel.
(Historical note: When Ndume first came to us from the Cincinnati Zoo, his blue barrel was right beside him on the plane.)
Ndume is so attached to these barrels that he often won’t allow caregivers to close him into his rooms for the night until he has one inside.
Other days, when the mood strikes him, he will leave his rooms in the morning with one of his little plastic chairs. It’s a silly but frequent sight to see a large silverback gorilla sitting on a tiny plastic chair designed for toddlers (see photo).
In one instance, he took his tiny orange chair outside with him for the day. Upon returning to his room that evening, he seemed to realize that one of his chairs was missing and promptly went back outside to retrieve it.
Ndume definitely has a specific way of doing his housekeeping, and his house just isn’t a home without those two tiny chairs and a barrel. Like us, Koko and Ndume make extensive use of “creature comforts.”
by Christina Herron — Gorilla Caregiver/Researcher