Blowing off steam

November 13th, 2017 by Katelyn

Mornings in the chimp house have been, well, shall we say a little intense the past few days. With what seems to be an early winter, changing routines and closer quarters at mealtimes, we usually experience a little adjustment period with the changing seasons. Breakfast is often pre-empted with the normal raucous and rowdy displays and cage rattling from Burrito (with some extra flare this time of year) which leads to the usual arguments and scuffles with the girls flying after him screaming at the tops of their lungs. Then with tensions high and breakfast being served in the warmer (but smaller) front rooms, it’s been every caregiver for themselves during breakfast service which has frequently involved dodging (if you’re lucky) flying feces from the boss lady. Most of this is normal chimpanzee behavior and all of it is understandable. We all have to blow off steam sometimes.

The chimps also sometimes choose to exert some sense of control over their changing routine or avoid tension in the group by choosing to stay in areas when we are attempting to shift them to others so we can clean. This is Missy’s favorite time to stay back on her own in the playroom and hoot and holler from the loft to her hearts content. Jody also loves to bring her snack into the front rooms when she sees me attempting to close the doors. I leave the area at which point she leaves the front rooms, but the second she sees me looking that way she runs back in. But as we’ve said many times, part of the importance and beauty of sanctuary is the chimpanzees having the choice to call the shots and make their own choices as much as possible. And we’re only too happy to follow their lead.

So after the breakfast kerfuffle, When this morning dawned warmer and somewhat sunny, we couldn’t have been more thrilled for the chimps to have the chance to spend much of the day outside zooming about, racing and running with each other and their caregivers, and just getting some space from one another, taking in the sights and getting some fresh air.

And while Negra still chose to stay inside in her cozy nest, she was entertained by no less than four caregivers dancing like maniacs as she nodded along with approval. It’s been a good day.

Burrito, Annie and Foxie (below):

Burrito and Annie:

Annie checking out the comings and goings of the sanctuary:


Jody started to head back to the greenhouse with a favorite pine tree treat, but stopped short of going inside to check on all her friends. Jody spotted Foxie hanging out by herself and decided she needed to go collect her:

Jamie was thrilled to be out and about and has Kelsi running (literally) around the hill all the live long day:

5 Responses to “Blowing off steam”

  1. Sharon says:

    alot of work there but you all do a great job caretaking and keeping your cool…

  2. Donna Oleksiuk says:

    Wonderful post. Just love all the details you share with us. So interesting and makes us feel like we are right there with you!! Thank you for the incredible love and kindness you give these precious beings. So grateful to you !! Lots of love to all at CSNW – chimps and non-chimps. You are all awesome and amazing !! <3 <3<3

  3. Kathleen says:

    Gadzooks! What a challenge keeping seven personalities on an even keel! Oh Jamie, she does add a certain rush to your day, and I’m not talking about runs around the hill. Is the green house all closed up these days and ready for winter? I understand how the shift to winter makes it seem as if the world gets smaller. I volunteer at a dog shelter and these days none of the dogs are interested in walking, at the same time being inside all the time gets them a little wound up! We all need time to adjust. We animals are all very similar in so many ways. Thank you for embracing the chimps no matter what challenges they face. You are all incredible beyond words.

    • Katelyn says:

      Hi Kathleen, yep, the panels are up on the greenhouse for the season. We animals all definitely get cabin fever at some point, that’s for sure, and all need a break here and there. Though the surrounding mountains are solid white this morning, today looks like another unexpected and lovely “spring” day here at the sanctuary and even Queen Neggie was back out to her greenhouse nest early this morning. 🙂

  4. Paula says:

    Fantastic and informative post.