Chimpanzees are either very quiet, or very loud, and there isn’t a whole lot in between. When things are exciting, they make sure their voices are heard from wall to wall at the sanctuary. The roasted pears for today’s lunch were a cause for a raucous celebration. Here is just a taste of what it sounded like when they got their first glimpse of the delicious meal.
As a follow up to yesterday’s blog about Missy and Annie’s friendship, I thought I would post this little clip of Missy and Annie entering Young’s Hill together first thing this morning. Annie often starts her Young’s Hill adventures walking bipedal. Maybe it’s an attempt to avoid the wet ground, or maybe it’s just to get a better view of her surroundings. Missy generally keeps all four limbs planted on the ground, that is, until she starts sprinting up the hill at top speed.
On a slightly separate note, while not the best quality photo, I still like this one because it shows the chimpanzees taking full advantage of the different dimensions of Young’s Hill.
Missy on the fire hose tightrope, Annie on the structure to her left, Foxie on the tall platform behind Missy, and just a glimpse of Jody in the bottom left on the ground:
Missy and Annie are best friends. Though their individuality (especially Annie’s) comes out more each day and varies in several ways, it’s pretty unusual to see one without the other at least nearby. They will often nest near one another and upon occasion we’ve even found their nests woven together in a figure eight.
But if you know Annie and Missy, you also know that they spend most of their time together on the go. Play faces, laughter and mad games of running, chasing, wrestling, and climbing are the norm from sun up ’til sun down. Even when they are resting next to one another there is usually a game of slow motion slapping or tickling going on. So it’s a lovely treat to catch them in a still moment together, just enjoying one another’s company and the view.
Nicknames: James, Boss Lady
Birthday: October 31st
Role: The Boss
Personality: intense, smart, watchful
What She Would Save in a Fire: her cowboy boot collection
Likes: law and order, long walks, pears
Dislikes: disobedience, boredom, unpredictability
Nicknames: Fox, Tiny
Birthday: August 8th
Role: The Peacekeeper
Personality: cautious, joyful, silly
What She Would Save in a Fire: her doll collection
Likes: fruit smoothies, backflips, bubblegum pop songs
Dislikes: green veggies, conflict, anything new
Nicknames: B, Mr. B, Bub
Birthday: January 6th
Role: The Obnoxious Little Brother
Personality: goofy, playful, socially awkward
What He Would Save in a Fire: all of the food in the fridge
Likes: eating, playing with caregivers, causing mischief
Dislikes: non-mealtimes, getting in trouble with the other chimps for causing mischief
Negra is the oldest chimpanzee here at the sanctuary, and while only a year or two older than some of the others, there is no doubt that Negra is the grandma of the family. She has a sizable belly, she’s a little bowlegged, she moves at a snail’s pace, and she has no patience for nonsense.
Negra prefers safety and comfort over adventure, and she is most comfortable indoors. She likes to find a sunny spot upstairs in the playroom where she can make a big, soft nest and nap or gaze out the window over the valley.
Today, though, Negra climbed out of her nest and joined the other chimps outside on Young’s Hill. Spring has been slow to arrive in Cle Elum this year, but now that the snow is finally melting and the sun is shining, the chimps are drawn outside more and more. Even Negra can’t resist the temptation.
Foxie wears many hats at the sanctuary. To the other chimpanzees she is friend, peacekeeper, playmate, and protector. She is popular for all the right reasons, and in a lot of ways, she is part of the glue that bonds this tiny community of seven chimps together. We should all be so lucky to have a Foxie in our inner circle.
We’re reaching the balmy 40’s, the rains have begun, the bluebirds have returned and the snow is melting! To help move things along we decided to shovel a path part of the way up Young’s Hill this morning in the hopes it’d be clear in a day or two for Jamie to walk part way up the perimeter. Well, Jamie and her right hand gal, Missy, wasted no time in testing it out. When Jamie asked me to put her cowgirl boots on after lunch I assumed we were doing the usual wintertime back and forth to the greenhouse. She quickly disappeared and when I looked outside I spotted her and Missy on the pathway waiting for me to catch up! Apologies for the poor quality of photos, but of course we have to share the big day. 🙂
Jamie and Missy headed up Young’s Hill!:
They went to the end of the path and turned around to head back downhill where Jamie promptly marched back up hill and down again. (If you go enough times it equals a walk all the way around the hill, right?)
Meanwhile, Missy made her way every which way across the hill via tightrope walking:
Once Jamie was satisfied with her walk, she joined Missy:
Foxie and Jody made a brief foray up the hill as well:
Many of the chimps spent a big part of the morning on the climbing structures – racing across the fire hoses, climbing, brachiating – all the good stuff chimps do. Even Negra has been spotted outside for brief moments! I can imagine they feel just as we do when winter finally gives up it’s grip and ease of spring feels imminent. And I think for us humans, watching them so full of joy and exuberance at reclaiming their beloved Young’s Hill was more of a lift than anything spring could bring our way. Something tells me Jamie’s Boot Camp of multiple daily walks around the hill for her caregivers isn’t too far off…and we couldn’t be happier.