Archive for April 10th, 2017

Spring, storms, this and that.

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Springs storms are rolling through the area today and in typical fashion we go from sun, to cold wind, to rain, to hail and back to sun.

But spring hail (if you live in Cle Elum :)) brings the first tiniest of spring flowers:

No matter the weather, Missy asks to have the barn doors at the end of the playroom open and checks the garden every day!

And every time we open them up for the chimps to have a peek, it creates quite a ruckus and Missy is thrilled. She and Missy immediately began chasing each other around the playroom, laughing:

Jamie was keeping a close eye on the approaching storms from the chimp house windows after an aborted attempt at walking around the hill. She left me standing half way up on the windy hillside calling after her as she high-tailed it back to the greenhouse. Maybe she’s becoming a fair weather chimp?

It’s been a quiet afternoon with the unpredictable weather and the chimps have mostly congregated together in the toasty greenhouse to groom. If you are new to chimpanzee behavior, grooming is extremely important in chimp society. It’s a way to clean themselves and one another as well as to attend to any wounds, but it’s primary importance is that of building and maintaining their bonds with one another. Chimps use grooming to build relationships in the hierarchy and “get in good” with the more dominant chimps, it’s how they maintain bonds with friends, it’s how they soothe and calm each other and it’s how they make up after a fight. And here at CSNW, sometimes the chimps will choose to include their caregivers in their grooming. The chimpanzees relationships with one another are always the priority, but it’s always special when they include us.

Missy likes to groom herself with a small stick (seen here grooming her own arm) and invited me to do the same. For safety reasons we never allow our fingers to pass through the caging and the chimps know that if they want us to groom them or give them a knuckle rub, they have to press their body against the caging. You can’t see it here, but I am only using my forefinger and thumb to hold the tool – we keep as many fingers as we can tucked back for safety…That leg!

Here Annie (using her lips on her arm) and Jody are self-grooming:

Burrito was resting in the corner while Foxie groomed him, but he eventually moved down to groom with Jody:

The chimps have been loving the greenhouse today and even after an exciting dinner forage of roasted onions, pears, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes, they all took their evening enrichment of peanut butter in containers out to the greenhouse to enjoy. This is pretty unusual because they are typically building their night nests about this time. Keri and I said goodnight and received “crickets” in response. 🙂 Goodnight chimps! Goodnight friends of chimps!