Archive for the ‘Trolls’ Category

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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Morning Surveillance

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

As staff and volunteers arrive each morning, boss Jamie often chooses to monitor the activity from the bench in the room we call the portrait studio. She can keep a good eye on both the kitchen and the parking lot from this spot.

Today she received some backup from her good friend Foxie.

Foxie brought along her newest doll (DJ Suki from the recent Trolls movie).

To Each Her Own

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

One of the most important things we offer to the chimpanzees here at the sanctuary is the freedom of choice. We provide the ingredients for a happy, healthy life, and the chimps take what they want and leave what they don’t.

Blankets are one of those ingredients. We put out so many blankets each day that there are plenty for everyone who wants them. Surprisingly, though, not everyone does.

Most of the chimps use the blankets we offer to build big, soft nests. The process of building the nest is just as important as the end result. They painstakingly wrap each blanket around their bodies or spread them out underneath them in just the right configuration. Sometimes they weave the blankets through or around other objects or structures.

This morning Jamie and Foxie were each “nesting” in their own way just a few feet from each other in the playroom, and the difference in their styles was apparent. They do have one thing in common: they like to have their favorite things nearby.

Foxie and a troll doll:

Jamie and a boot:

But that’s where the similarities end. Jamie likes to gather as many blankets as she can and twist and wrap them into a big, cushy circle.

Foxie, though, prefers the heated floor.

As much as it might make our own bones ache a little to see her lying on the bare floor, we appreciate that everyone has their own idea of comfort. Foxie makes her own choices, and we’ll always celebrate her in all her quirky glory.

Fall in Love with Foxie

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

For the Share the Chimp Love fundraising this year, we are seeking new Chimpanzee Pals (and other donations!) for all of the chimpanzees, and we’re producing videos of each of them so you can get to know them better (Foxie’s video is at the end of this post).

Last night, supporter Monica Best joined an elite group of donors by sponsoring all seven chimpanzees! The heart is starting to fill!

heart filling

Foxie’s video was a really fun montage to put together! Foxie currently has 35 Pals. Will you be her next Chimpanzee Pal?

Learn more about Sharing the Chimp Love.

Happy Birthday, Doreen!!

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Today we are celebrating the birthday of a dear friend of the primates at CSNW, Doreen Hughes! This fabulous day of sanctuary and celebration was sponsored by her twin sister, Donna, (who is obviously celebrating her own birthday as well!). Donna shared this special message for Doreen:

“Happy Birthday Doreen, the Best Sister Ever! I know how happy you will be to know that your birthday gift has helped Foxie and her friends!!! Your love, devotion and support to all animals speaks for itself! I know what a great year 2017 will be for you, we are so hopeful to meet Foxie and her friends – ape and human – in 2017! Eye on the prize, Doreen! xo xo Donna”

Doreen and Donna, HaPpY BiRtHdAy to you both from all of the primates here at CSNW!! May your day be bursting with love, laughter, and all that makes your heart do Foxie-style backflips, pirouettes and spins! We could not be happier to celebrate with you. We’re so happy you are in the world!

Don, thank you so much for sponsoring this special day as a gift for the chimps and for all you both do to make the lives of so many others better.

From your pal, Foxie, a tribute to twins: