Archive for the ‘Sanctuary’ Category

What’s in a Kiss?

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

You may have seen the video we posted the other day of Foxie giving kisses to some of the other chimpanzees to reassure them after a brief conflict broke out during her birthday party.

If you’re a chimp, a kiss can say a few different things: “Everything’s okay. Please calm down.” Or “I’m feeling a little nervous.” Or “Isn’t this exciting?!”

Today we set out a lunch forage on Young’s Hill. Jody and Missy both have the same foraging strategy. They make one big sweep of the area, gather as much food as they can carry, and then head back into the greenhouse to sit down and enjoy it. Missy was on her way to the greenhouse, trying not to spill any of her spoils, when Jody met up with her, also heading to the greenhouse. They stopped briefly for a kiss and breathy pant, which in this case was part: “This is great! I can’t wait to eat this food!” and part: “I have food. You have food. Everything’s okay.”

Thus reassured, they completed the trek to the greenhouse where they ate in peace.

Jamie helps out

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Enrichment comes in many forms…

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:

Sundays are Important

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Sundays are important for catching up on sleep, chores, and just plain old relaxation. Jamie and Burrito took full advantage of resting while the playroom was being cleaned. Napping was a good idea because today was a busy day with a summer visit and a forage on the hill.

Jamie made a huge nest with blankets and at least 4 boots:

Burrito napped on a platform and used a very comfortable blanket to rest his head:

After Jamie left, Burrito thought the sandbox looked comfortable to take a nap in:

Or play, because we all know he can’t resist a good game:

a special gift for Jamie

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Jamie’s birthday isn’t until October 31st, but her friend Vicki sent her a very special gift recently.

Happy Birthday, Erin!

Friday, August 11th, 2017

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Erin Yuhas! Erin has been a friend to the chimps and the sanctuary for a long time and she shared this beautiful message about today:

“When I make my wish and blow out my candles I would know my wish came true if I were suddenly there with these chimps. I would give anything to spend every day with these chimps and with those of you who do all you do to help them to be free, happy, and healthy. I enjoy your photos and stories every day and can think of no better way to spend my birthday than partying with my friends, no matter what species they are. I would love to spend the day with all of you. Thank you for sharing their stories with me.”

Erin, we are so touched by your lovely message. Thank you so much for giving us all the opportunity to celebrate your special day with you and for making a lasting difference in the lives of the chimps! You are definitely here in spirit! And since you share a birthday month with Foxie and Missy, maybe if you do some flips, carry some trolls and Dora dolls around, drink smoothies and eat copious amounts of tomatoes all day long, it will help bring the spirit of these birthday ladies to you! 😉

Happy Birthday, Erin! All of us are wishing you a fantastic day of celebration, joy and love!

Foxie:

Missy:

One of those weeks

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

There are some days, maybe even entire weeks, when things go wrong at the sanctuary. Not major things, mind you, but an accumulation of small “fires” that need to be put out. Shelves collapse in the kitchen (spraying juice everywhere), an innocent volunteer takes a pile of feces to the face, blankets block doors from closing off an area for cleaning, minor injuries on the chimps (from a small fight) need special attention, staff or volunteers get sick, and Jamie decides to cap it all off by staying out late on Young’s Hill. Did I mention it’s been really hot and a haze of wildfire smoke from Canada is in the air? This is the kind of week we’ve been having at the sanctuary. I debated on whether or not this was maybe a bit too much information, but I think it’s incredibly important to talk about BOTH fun things like Foxie’s birthday party, AND the less charming things that happen around here. Being a caregiver isn’t comprised of 50% games with Burrito and 50% troll tosses with Foxie after all (although that does sound pretty great).

The upside? We LOVE what we do. Through all the fog of craziness in some days, emerge seven pretty special chimpanzees that deserve all that hard work and love, and if that means working a bit late, having plans suddenly change, or being uncomfortably sweaty and smelly for a few hours, it’s all worth it.

Negra:

More birthday fun!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

A few photos from yesterday’s party!

The handcrafted watermelon bowls in honor of Foxie!

Missy

Jamie

Annie

Happy 41st Birthday Foxie!

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

We made it a day dedicated to Foxie’s favorites: more fruit than normal (Foxie has a sweet tooth), including fruit smoothie for EVERY meal! Mini watermelon salad bowls and tons of new dolls were the highlight of her brunch party. Thanks to donors, volunteers, and staff for all contributing to make Foxie’s birthday a fabulous event!