Monkeys love the smell of herbs, so we grow our own for them to munch on. In recent months, we’ve had a little team working with our animals, to provide them with sensory enrichment – that’s using the science of smells to make our monkeys feel relaxed, happy and full of life. The activities have been led by Elizabeth Whiter and Anthea Payne of The Healing Animals Organisation who have worked with rescued animals around the world, including Orangutans in Borneo.
Elizabeth trains vets, sanctuary managers and staff to cultivate and use local plants to help rehabilitate the animals in their care. The plants used include mint, garlic, valerian and ginger, in various combinations. “The primates choose what they need to nourish themselves”, says researcher Anthea.
In the spring, our animals enjoyed munching on chives and wild garlic – and this month our lovely Langurs tucked into some tasty garlic stems (known as scapes) from the Island’s Garlic Farm.
Their verdict was clear. They ate the lot!
“We’ve been documenting the subtle ways that the Monkey Haven primates use taste and scent to indicate what they need”, says Anthea. “The primates at Monkey Haven have responded very positively. Monkey Haven is at the forefront of this exciting, groundbreaking work which will be developed to help other rescue centres in the future.”