Archive for the ‘Trolls’ Category

Some Days are Just Silly

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

It was all fun and games today at CSNW! This morning I was greeted with breathy pants, grooming (Burrito & Neggie grooming one another), and chimps playing games of chase with each other (Annie, Missy, & Foxie). Jamie made a few of the staff and level 3 volunteers try on boots and after finding the right pair she couldn’t contain her excitement and took off for a game of chase!

Annie: Grooming her leg and secretly watching Burrito play chase

Annie: Later in the day enjoying kale from the garden

Missy: Hanging out in the greenhouse

Jody: Taking it easy and soaking in the warm sun

Foxie: Carrying her dora doll around

Burrito found a sweatband and put it on to play chase. Burrito put it on his head as captured in the photos, but he also put it around his wrists and ran around like crazy!

Burrito: Thinking about wearing the sweatband

Burrito: Putting the sweatband on, but still holding his wooden toys

Burrito: Playing chase

Burrito: Playing chase with volunteer Erin and the sweatband over his face

 

Siesta

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Foxie and one of her many beloved trolls enjoy a break from the summer heat:

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The slow days of summer

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Hot days call for lounging, moving as little as possible and waiting for any and every breeze.

Diana captured these priceless photos of Jody:

Foxie got a new wild purple haired troll doll and chose to lie next to the caging for a game of pass the troll so as to move as little as possible:

Never Assume

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

When training new volunteers and staff, learning to identify the chimps is very important. The chimps all have distinguishing features about them. Staff will try to give helpful pointers to help figure out who is who. For example, Foxie has what looks like a bow tie on her swelling, some chimps have defined brow ridges like Jody, and Missy is petite and has a short neck. Some have freckles, permanently crazy bed hair, different body types, and others have scars or pieces of ears or toes missing. There is also the way that they carry themselves. Jamie often walks with confidence and always looks like she is 3 steps ahead of you. You can often find certain chimps in a particular area that they like or holding specific enrichment they are fond of. For example, Negra loves to make a nest on the second floor in the corner of the playroom. However, this is where it gets tricky and why we tell staff and volunteers to judge only by physical characteristics and not by what we know they like or where “their spot” is. I have also seen little Miss nesting in the same spot as Negra! Jamie loves boots and Foxie always has a doll with her, but they like to throw us curve balls! I often find someone else holding a doll like Jamie or even today I spotted Negra holding a troll doll and putting it in her pelvic pocket. We train our staff and volunteers to take their time identifying the chimps, get to know the chimps, and especially their physical characteristics!

Negra: Holding a troll doll

Sanctuary, seven ways

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Sanctuary means different things for the seven chimpanzee individuals that live in Cle Elum, Washington.

Negra’s sanctuary lies in the solitude and comfort of a giant nest:

And sometimes the chance to peacefully pick wild greens on Young’s Hill

Jody finds sanctuary in the company of others:

as well in moments of quiet:

and bounty:

If Annie had to spell sanctuary, she would spell it M-I-S-S-Y:

Missy’s sanctuary is all about movement!

Jamie’s sanctuary is filled with cowboy boots:

And boot related activities:

Burrito’s sanctuary needs to be delicious:

and fun!

Foxie’s sanctuary wouldn’t be complete without dolls:

and friends!

and friends that steal said dolls and play keep-away!

When the Trolls Align

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Our amazing volunteers created this great display of trolls for the chimps! Some could find this terrifying, but others (like Foxie) find it completely delightful! When Foxie saw this display of dolls, she was beyond excited! Which would she choose first? Foxie was so thrilled that throughout the day I have found her playing alone with her trolls or getting the staff caregivers into a big game of troll toss and chase!

 

A beautiful line of trolls:

Foxie holding on to the pink doll in one hand and the orange with her foot:

Foxie spotted again with her troll:

The aftermath of deciding which troll to play with first:

Foxie staying hydrated after a big game of chase:

An odd relationship

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

We’ve seen Foxie put her dolls in precarious places, just so she could rescue them. We’ve also seen her hug and groom them lovingly. There are moments in the day when she throws them up and catches them, or hits them with tools. There are also moments like this..

Jamie’s style

Monday, July 10th, 2017

You may have read past blog posts in which we’ve shared that we have daily calendars with themes for the chimps’ daily enrichment. The themes are things like “blue” day, “tea party” day, or “clothing” day. We don’t assume the chimps are aware of the themes, but they definitely help the humans think out of the box and keep things fresh. And we love that the chimps then have the choice to engage with (or ignore) their enrichment exactly as their interest and curiosity dictates at any given time.

Yesterday’s theme was “troll scarves.” Jamie in particular loves these and chose to wear one to lunch today. She definitely knows what works for her. She is such a strikingly beautiful chimpanzee woman.

A selection

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Each day, caregivers put out carefully selected enrichment items into the enclosures for the chimpanzees to enjoy. Objects like clothing, crayons, magazines, paper, and kids toys are placed around to try and peak the chimps’ interests (or sometimes to just give them something to throw). There are two types of enrichment items that are an absolute requirement for each enclosure: Foxie’s dolls and Jamie’s boots. No area at the sanctuary is fully enriched without at least one cowboy boot and a Dora or troll doll.


The Things We Carry

Friday, May 26th, 2017

A few months ago, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest was invited to contribute to an exhibit in the Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University. The exhibit, entitled “The Things We Carry,” would feature objects of significance to the members of our local community.

Our community, of course, includes seven chimpanzees, and you’d be hard pressed to find objects of greater significance to their owners than the boots and dolls carried by Jamie and Foxie.

During the opening reception for the exhibit, Dr. Jessica Mayhew, who is both a professor in the Primate Behavior and Ecology program at CWU and a CSNW volunteer, provided some very moving remarks on the installation:

When you have the opportunity to go in and experience the exhibit, you’ll see some objects that undoubtedly look familiar to you.  A pillowcase, a toddler’s dress, empty bags of potato chips.  Also encased are some cowboy boots and dolls.  Cowboy boots in this region are common, and many of us can surely remember the various iterations of Troll dolls beginning in the 1960s.

But what’s special about these boots and these dolls, is that the objects do not belong to humans, they belong to two chimpanzees from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest: Jamie and Foxie.  Jamie and Foxie are only two of seven chimpanzees residing at CSNW, and they are not the only chimpanzees that carry objects, but their object carrying has become iconic, picked up in popular news stories across the US and globally.

As a primatologist, I have watched my fair share of object manipulation, tool creation, and object play in macaques, in capuchins, in the large-bodied apes.  Jane Goodall first described tool use in chimpanzees in 1960, when she observed David Greybeard termite fish with a piece of grass.  We’ve been grappling with the implications of those observations ever since.

Objects occupy a wide functional range in the lives of primates.  Some are used in the acquisition and processing of food – capuchin monkeys carry large, hard hammer stones up from nearby riverbeds to their nut cracking sites; chimpanzees have been observed to carry sticks, stems, and sturdy grasses from one location in their home range to termite and ant nests, where they know they will not find suitable fishing materials.  Objects do not always have to be inanimate: mother primates regularly carry their infants, most often on their backs, but sometimes on the chest, which can make walking a bit of a challenge.  Still other objects are used in ways that we have only begun to observe and decipher: stone handling in multiple macaque species, log and rock cradling in chimpanzees.

But there is something different when the object is one that’s familiar to us; one that may have played a large role in our childhood, like dolls or action figures, or is an object that is perhaps a part of the larger cultural fabric of a place, like cowboy boots.  When familiar objects are put into hands that are a little less familiar, it makes the divide between human and non-human a little bit narrower.

There are 7 chimpanzees at CSNW, all of them very much individuals, all of them vibrant and compelling; they were known as “The Buckshire Seven”, because they were housed at the Buckshire Corporation in a windowless basement, and spent the majority of their lives leased out for various biomedical studies.  Jamie was born in captivity around 1977, and she spent the first nine years of her life in the entertainment industry before entering into the biomedical realm.  Foxie, on the other hand, was born into the biomedical industry in 1976: she was used in vaccine trials, she was used as a breeder.  Each time she gave birth, her infant was carried away by humans.
This group became “The Cle Elum Seven” when they moved to sanctuary in 2008.  Jamie has spent the last nine years of her life, taking chimpanzee patrols around the property with her human friends, who are always in boots.  Foxie has no shortage of dolls to carry with her, and no risk of them not being there each day.

The exhibit description tells us that, “Objects hold memories. Physical things carry traces of people we have loved, times of joy and terror, and places we may have heard of, but never visited.  They connect us to distant homelands and important moments in personal and family memory. Through our objects, we carry with us complex emotions and histories.  Sometimes, in contemplating these material things, we discover new insights about where we have come from and whom we might become.”

Maybe Jamie’s very specific love of cowboy boots comes from her early days reared with humans.  Maybe Foxie’s love of dolls comes from never fully experiencing motherhood.  Maybe, I’ll leave that for them to know, ultimately.  But I will say that these objects serve as reminders for us, as onlookers, for where these chimpanzees have been and for what humans have done to them.   They are powerful expressions of both great sadness and great silliness.  But they also serve as symbols of hope, that circumstances can change, that life can be better and full of kindness and compassion.

The exhibit title, “The Things We Carry” seems all the more fitting now with the inclusion of these artifacts from our closest relatives.  This is a community-curated exhibition.  Not just this local community of humans with stories to tell, and memories to conjure, but the deep roots shared by humans and our closest kin.  Indeed, we are all carrying physical, emotional, and metaphorical things.

 

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