It’s a gray, rainy day in Cle Elum but Foxie and Jamie are keeping themselves entertained inside. (Make sure your volume is up for some great breathy chimp laughter starting around 0:40.)
Luxuriate in the sun, play, repeat. Temperatures were at freezing this morning and the chimps spent a lot of time lined up along the catwalk of the chimp house luxuriating in the sunny windows and grooming and/or playing with one another. At one point, everyone was bunched together enjoying the warmth of the sun and one another.
Annie was particularly enjoying herself, stretched out in the bright light half asleep. But that didn’t stop her from a lazy game of toe grabbing (and nibbling) with her best friend, Missy:
(Notice Annie gently play-biting Missy’s toes) 🙂
Eventually, Missy gave in and decided to groom Annie, arm poised mid-air, basking in the warmth of the sun and friendship:
Jamie chimpanzee is a domineering individual and her good friend Foxie is well aware of it. During forages, Jamie pulls rank and controls a great deal of the space around her. She will gather her forage bounty together, sometimes in handfuls, often using a container to keep a hand free for foraging. The other chimpanzees know not to mess with the boss’s collection, but it’s not always so clear what she has staked a claim to.
Last Friday we put out a lettuce forage to entice the chimps into the playroom so we could close off the front rooms for cleaning. We also put out a brand new France Dora the Explorer Doll for Foxie. This particular doll is one of Foxie’s all time favorites. Watch the video to see Foxie test the boundaries of her and Jamie’s complicated relationship.
Savoring a creamy avocado next to a sunny window must be one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than sweet Annie.
When I think of the chimp that spends the most time in the chimps’ 2 acre outdoor enclosure, I think of Jamie. On any given day, she’s busy walking, watching, inspecting, patrolling and sometimes even just taking in the views, all from Young’s Hill. And when the weather is right, she stays out late until the last bit of sunlight fades into darkness. So, it seems appropriate that I associate her with Young’s Hill.
Here’s a picture taken of Jamie last week on her solo trip around the hill.
But, as I walked out to meet Jamie for her first perimeter walk around Young’s Hill this morning (I, safely on the outside of the electric fences and her on the inside) almost all of the other chimps were already on the hill. Annie, Foxie and Burrito were already climbing to the top of Jamie’s Lookout at the uppermost part of the hill. Missy was busy running around and Jody was on the lookout for plants to forage.
When I saw the other chimps already on the hill this morning, it really dawned on me how much each of the chimpanzees at CSNW have changed throughout the past eight years. Each and every one of the chimps is growing more confident and adventurous as they choose to spend more and more time exploring their open air, outdoor enclosure.
And now, when I think about Young’s Hill, I think about Negra staying out late to forage on the wild plants on top of Young’s Hill. I think about Burrito climbing to the top of the highest structures and Annie and Foxie spending more and more time exploring on their own. I think of Missy’s acrobatic moves off of any and everything she can find and Jody’s never-ending search for wild plants to forage upon. Of course, I’ll continue to think about Jamie and her perimeter patrols, but I’m so glad to think of Young’s Hill and every one of the chimps now.
After looking around, the chimps started making their way back down the structure and back toward the building.
You have probably heard about, or maybe you are experiencing, the dramatic storm that is hitting the Pacific Northwest today.
The majestic Cascade Mountain Range protects Cle Elum from a lot of the wetter weather that our friends to the west in the Seattle area receive, and we are certainly not getting the extreme rain and wind that is expected closer to the coast. Nevertheless, it rained ALL day today, and it’s still coming down.
This is what the chimpanzees were up to today (similar to many of you, I suspect):
Jamie watching the rain from the greenhouse:
Don’t worry – Jamie managed to get a walk in before it really started to come down.
Annie nesting in the front rooms:
Yesterday, Margaret, a friend and supporter who has known the chimpanzees since their arrival, reminded me of the first time the chimpanzees experienced a real rainstorm at the sanctuary. Margaret was volunteering that day. It was almost exactly eight years ago.
I wrote about the chimpanzees’ experience and posted photos in the blog post Rainstorm Bravery. This was three years before Young’s Hill was complete and before the greenhouse panels were on, so the rain came down right into what is now the greenhouse.
Imagine your very first experience being able to go out into a rainstorm (or just watch from the safety and comfort of your bed). Though they were in their 20s and 30s, everything in their sanctuary life was just so new to the chimpanzees.
Today, the rain doesn’t faze them too much, but when we get thunderstorms or other out-of-the-ordinary weather, they do still react. One of my favorite experiences at the chimp house was watching Burrito do a “rain dance” in 2013.
In honor of the power of weather, the connection that we have to our environment, and the inner chimpanzee in all of us, I’ve reposted the video below.
I hope everyone is staying safe and warm as you wait out the storm.
Many of the photos we take of the chimpanzees each day never make it onto the blog. Here are a few that I’ve taken in the last couple of weeks that I just found hiding on the hard drive.
If you’re as smitten with these chimps as we are, don’t pass up the opportunity to look at their amazing faces every day of the year!
Each day this month, Autumn seems to get just a bit more vivid at the sanctuary. This morning dawned with a new icy snap in the air and thick frost on caregivers’ car windshields. After the chimpanzees ate breakfast, the inviting sun took the edge off the chilly air and Young’s Hill became a warm golden playground.
Foxie carried her “Kate” doll with her this morning as she explored. Kate’s red hair fits right in with the views of the fall foliage.
Today was also generously sponsored by Jim Horton in honor of his mother, Vicki Fagerlee, for her birthday! We are so touched by Vicki’s family who have come together throughout the day to celebrate Vicki and the chimpanzees who mean so much to her!
Jim, thank you so much for honoring your mother in such a thoughtful way! What an amazing gift to be able to make a difference in the lives of these seven special individuals as you all celebrate someone who is so special to you.
Happy Birthday, Vicki, from all of the primates at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with the chimpanzees and including them in your special day! We are so grateful to you and your family for ensuring that for all their days forward, the chimps’ lives will be full of love, family and home.
And since you share a birthday month with the boss lady, Jamie, I thought we should recall all the pumpkin joy this month brings. If the chimps could send you a birthday wish, they might say with any luck you have your own head stuck inside a yummy pumpkin right now! 😉 But we humans just hope you have something like a nice cake or anything made of chocolate that brings you equal happiness. 🙂
Jody testing out Jamie’s past birthday pumpkin:
Negra and Jody:
Jody and Missy:
Burrito. Of course.