Archive for the ‘Annie’ Category

Peace, love and happiness!

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Foxie is known as the peacekeeper at the sanctuary. When a small conflict broke out during her birthday party last week, she rushed around to reassure everyone involved, and the party continued peacefully.

Reflections of Annie

Monday, August 14th, 2017

We sometimes refer to some of the chimps as “human-oriented” and others as more of a “chimp’s chimp.” Individual histories and personalities have Jamie, Burrito and Foxie choosing to spend more time interacting with the humans than their other family members, Missy, Jody, Negra and Annie. While the latter folks are occasionally interested in engaging with the humans, it’s more their preference to spend time with their chimp family. And as much as we love interacting with the chimps when they choose to, their relationships with one another are the priority.

All of that said, over the years the “chimps’ chimps” have shown increasing interest in interacting with the humans. Negra could watch us dance for ages, Missy now leaps on the caging in excitement before running off for a game of chase with her caregivers and enjoys long grooming sessions with us, Jody spends more time greeting us throughout the day, and Annie, well, Annie’s continuing to bloom and grow in pretty much all areas of her life as you may have read before.

I’ve often felt that Annie shares many similar interests with Jamie. She’s curious, intelligent and creative and loves to check out new projects and enrichment. Where in the past she was often hesitant to do so could have been because of her less dominant position and Jamie typically taking things over, and maybe it’s just that now that she is feeling more comfortable in her own skin, safe and secure, she finally has the space to follow her interests and express herself, no longer having to look at the world around her through the filter of anxiety and fear. Whatever the reason, she is a pure joy.

Today I decided to see if she was interested in taking some “selfies” and checking herself out on the iPhone with the camera screen turned toward her. As we all are with dear Annie, she appeared quite mesmerized with her reflection:

More birthday fun!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

A few photos from yesterday’s party!

The handcrafted watermelon bowls in honor of Foxie!




Moments of comfort

Monday, August 7th, 2017

After experiencing over 30 years of deprivation, it never ceases to amaze me (or make my heart burst) to see the chimpanzees so fully embrace a life of comfort in their own unique ways. It physically hurts my heart to think of all they went without for so long and makes each moment of joy and comfort for them all the more meaningful.

The chimps recently received some new SUPER fluffy fleece blankets and they adore them. They look as though they are floating on clouds sitting in their nests, the blankets sometimes as high as their chests. We found two super voluptuous nests this morning while cleaning the playroom.┬áDespite Jamie’s aversion to snakes, she really loves to incorporate the stuffed toy snakes into her nests:

Jamie (we assume) decided to use a chopstick to remove a washer from somewhere yet to be discovered. She is far too smart for our own good:

This beauty was spread out over the catwalk:

Beautiful Annie lounging:

Jody in particular loved the new blankets (naturally) and frequently rubbed her head and face against them:

Jody’s sweet feet in a cloud of fluff as she napped this morning:

Seeing the chimps surrounding themselves in comfort will never grow old.

To each their own

Monday, July 31st, 2017

If you’ve been following the blog for long you’re aware that we often write about providing enrichment for the chimpanzees as a way to help alleviate boredom and bring interest and fun to their days. A lot of the enrichment is provided by us humans in the form of things like toys, food puzzles, parties, and wild browse we collect. And a lot of the enrichment the chimps provide themselves such as harvesting wild greens from Young’s Hill. Staff and volunteers alike spent countless hours trying to think of new and exciting things and we keep enrichment calendars so that we’re inspired to think outside the box and mix things up. And inspiration often simply comes from the area we live in and the distinct four seasons we have.

Being summer, it’s fun to offer the chimps extra ways to stay hydrated and cool. So today we placed the ever-popular ice water buckets and a table of ice in the chimps’ playroom. We also made a very shallow pool in the chimps’ sandbox in the greenhouse and filled it with cups for them to help themselves to throughout the day. For all the effort we put into making things new and exciting, sometimes it’s the simplest things that get the chimps excited. There was so much hooting going on over ice!

Annie found a big ice chunk and quickly made her way to the greenhouse where she made a nest to enjoy it from (you can notice the ice chunk just outside her nest):

Enter Missy. Missy LOVES ice and being the more dominant of the two chimps, Annie decided not to eat the ice with Missy hanging around. Missy was very aware of this and kept taking passes looking at the ice, but she didn’t take it from Annie. So the ice melted away as the standoff continued. But this didn’t keep Annie from relaxing and enjoying her time. That leg!!

I never did see where the ice wound up, but either way Annie seemed utterly content.

And then there’s Jamie. Two summers ago we noticed for the first time that somehow (and much to our surprise) she and Missy had discovered wasp larvae to be an exceptional delicacy. This is pretty intriguing for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is Jamie loves them and finds the risks in harvesting them worth the reward.

Yesterday she and Missy came running in from the hill with a small nest and Jamie was screaming and alarm calling all the way with all the other chimps in pursuit to see what was wrong with their friend. As far as we could tell, Jamie appeared to have been stung on the foot. She fell into her nest (still clutching her valuable wasp nest tightly), screaming, alarm calling and looking at her foot. But within mere seconds she was up and walking around the playroom continuing to alarm call in between taking bites of her treat. All the chimps continued to follow her being interested in 1) what the apparent threat was that Jamie kept alarm calling about and if she was okay and 2) what she was eating. But Jamie quickly settled down and with six chimps gathered around her food peering (staring intently because they were hoping she’d share) she enjoyed her treat. And she did not share. It was all pretty dramatic.

So today while cleaning the greenhouse I had to remove a couple starter wasp nests for the chimps’ and humans’ safety. Jamie was watching intently and so we decided to hide this apparent (wasp free) delicacy with the rest of the forage. She immediately scooped it up and began food grunting. Missy is the only person I’ve seen show an interest in wasp larvae and she quickly followed Jamie doing her best food peer and polite requests, but Jamie was unmoved by Missy’s plea. (Missy did get a smaller bite of one later though).

Mmmhhh…wasp larvae.

Highly prized

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

There are a few foods that a lot of caregivers mildly dread serving to the chimpanzees. One of these foods is corn on the cob. Corn is a hot commodity for the chimps and with its distinguished deliciousness, comes a wave of competitive desire from a few of the dominant individuals (namely Jamie and Jody) to try and steal as many pieces of corn as possible from the other chimps. This as you might imagine, is not seen as a popular tactic and can cause chaos and screams to ring through the sanctuary. We rarely serve whole pieces of corn any more because it causes so much drama, and instead will break the cobs in half, or cut them into many tiny pieces for play room forages. Today however, we decided to spread whole corn far and wide out on Young’s Hill. There is something about having all that extra space for foraging out on the hill that the chimps seem genuinely satisfied and lose a little bit of that competitive tension.

Of course there are some chimps that are a bit more successful…

Negra seemed so pleased with her one large corn that she headed right back inside with it to enjoy:

Burrito needed a lot of reassurance from Foxie because he was so thrilled (note how “fluffy” he looks with his hair standing on end). Foxie was perfectly happy to pick up a bunch of primate chow that we also scattered with the corn.

Jamie and Missy were moving and eating quickly, but I promise they got lots of lunch too!

Annie ate all of her corn while she was outside:

Happy Birthday, Reilly and Eamonn!

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Today Reilly and Eamonn Coyne are turning 7 years old! Kate O’Keefe chose to celebrate her twin grandchildrens’ special day by sponsoring this day of sanctuary in their honor! Kate shared this lovely message about today:

“We are sponsoring this day in honor of our twin grandchildren, Reilly and Eamonn Coyne.They are turning 7 on July 29th! Thank you for all your wonderful work. It is a joy to see your posts of the chimps happy and thriving.”

Kate, we are so touched that you thought of the chimpanzees in celebrating Reilly and Eamonn and their birthday. It’s lovely to know your compassion and your grandchildrens’ lives are making a difference in the chimps’ lives. We are so happy to celebrate with you all today.

Happy Birthday, Reilly and Eamonn!! Here at the sanctuary we think the number 7 is a pretty big deal. These seven chimpanzees have brought more joy, love, fun, laughter and hope into all our lives and we hope your special day is full of all the same. Thank you for caring about Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra and sharing your big day with them!





Annie and Missy:


Pea tendrils

Friday, July 28th, 2017

It’s that time of year again! The snap peas were nearing the end of their season in the chimpanzees’ garden, so this morning we pulled up the vines and gave the entire plants to the chimpanzees for browse. The chimps like to suck all of the juices out of the tougher vegetation and spit out the fibrous parts. I’m expecting to find a great deal of wadged pea tendrils when we clean tomorrow.


Missy collected armloads of vines:




Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Rachel Ruggeri sponsored this day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees as a wonderful way to celebrate life! She shared this really beautiful message about today:

“This day is in honor of my 48th birthday! The sanctuary gives me hope that we can create a better world where all living creatures have some sense of freedom and happiness. And it is that hope that I look forward to with each passing year…”

Rachel, you are an amazing friend to the chimpanzees. From our hearts, thank you for all you do for them, for helping us care for them and give them lives their unique and special selves deserve, and for being part of their family. Holding your touching message in our hearts, we are all wishing you the happiest of birthdays yet and many, many more to come. Have a fantastic day!

Annie and Missy:




Jamie walking on fire hose bridge


Jody carrying cattail



Monday, July 24th, 2017

Today dawned sunny and hot from the start. But that didn’t stop Burrito from an exciting game of chase in the greenhouse to start the day off. Sometimes just the sound of our voice greeting the chimps “Good Morning” as we round the greenhouse is enough to get him to fly down the platform, play stomping his foot as he looks to us to chase him. He seems to particularly love when we stand at one end as he charges toward us, play kicks the caging and turns to run back the other way. As you can tell by all of his hair standing on end (pilo-erect) he was pretty excited about chase this morning as he charged toward me:

Ellie quickly moved to her morning shaded spot under the visitor platform as the chimps enjoyed breakfast service in the greenhouse (background):

First thing this morning, Kelsi and I trekked over to one of the ponds on the property to harvest some cattails for the chimps. We are lucky to have a wide variety of wild plants across the property that are safe for the chimps to consume that either we, or they themselves, can harvest. Cattails are a favorite and they love to eat the stalks and then savor them in wadge form throughout the day. We hid a few on Young’s Hill for some lucky foraging chimp to find at some point, but put the rest in the greenhouse. Being hot, the chimps were quick to grab up their share and find a comfortable and cool-ish spot to enjoy them. Here’s Jody:

Cattails are high on the list of favored browse for the boss lady, Jamie (and Annie enjoyed hers in the background):