Spring is on its way and the snow is melting, but Missy is happy to get every last bit that is left.
Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’
The last couple of days we’ve been experiencing some extra snow fall, which means the chimps get to snack on some fresh snow, which they love! Elizabeth and I filled up the chimps’ sandbox with snow and added some troll dolls for some CSNW flair.
Everyone was snacking on the snow, including of course Jamie. Since she is the boss, the other chimps wanted to make sure they were okay to snack on the snow, too. That’s completely natural chimpanzee behavior, and something that is essential to their society. Jamie was fine with the other chimps enjoying the snow, there was plenty to go around, and she wasn’t feeling particularly territorial of it.
When Jody asked for Jamie’s permission, she displayed perfect reassurance behaviors. She approached with a drooped lip, making it clear that she was not being at all aggressive or threatening. Then she reached out toward Jamie as if to say “is it okay if I join?” Jamie didn’t disapprove, so Jody’s next move was to give Jamie a quick kiss on the mouth. Jamie reciprocated and gave Jody permission by giving Jody a kiss back on her brow ridge. Jody then knew it was fine with Jamie that she join in, and immediately started snacking.
One of the biggest challenges of this job is keeping Jamie enriched. The other chimps certainly need enrichment, too, but Jamie in particular requires a lot to keep her engaged. So I’m continually trying to find things that will be enriching for her. Kongs are a good food puzzle for the chimps because we can put nuts, peanut butter, or even mushed banana into the crevices making it tricky to get the treat out.
Recently I discovered these Kong “Genius” toys which connect together, and I thought it seemed perfect for Jamie! Thanks to Carrie M. who ordered a bunch of these Kongs for us off our Amazon wishlist recently, we were able to make several connected Kongs. Jamie of course hoarded many of them, but all the chimps were able to enjoy this puzzle. You’ll hear in the video just how happy Jamie is with all her food groans and grunts.
Speaking of Jamie and of the wishlist, we are in desperate need of a new boot dryer! Ours broke yesterday and as you can imagine we are constantly running the dryers to get Jamie’s boots quickly dry after we wash them. Dry boots makes for a happy Jamie! Both she and I would be forever grateful to anyone that is able to purchase a new one for us. If you do grab anything from the list now or anytime in the future, send me an email at debbie@ChimpsNW.org so we can be sure to send you a thank you! (UPDATE: Thank you Patrick and Carrie for purchasing the boot dryer for us! The boss will be happy).
If you are on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a few pictures posted from our new Instagram account. If you have Instagram, please start following us @chimpsanctuary! Today, I posted this picture, with the caption “Guess who?” And I’d like to pose that question to our blog readers as well. So, go ahead and guess! After you figure it out, I will post more pictures of that chimp later today!
UPDATE: It’s Burrito Scroll down to see his pretty cute face.
If you aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, but you regularly read the blog, you might have noticed on the right hand sidebar that there’s a new link to a page called News on Apes. This is simply a feed of news stories (with links to the original articles) all in one place for any issue apes are facing in the news. If something noteworthy comes out on chimps in entertainment or biomedical research, or conservation issues for wild gorillas, chimps, and orangutans—we will post it there. Subscribe to get an email notification any time we post a link to a new article, to stay updated on what is going on with apes around the world.
This guest blog is by Rich Zimmerman, Executive Director of Orangutan Outreach. Rich helped facilitate getting CSNW an iPad as part of their Apps for Apes program! He is our first guest blogger to tell us information about our red ape cousins in Asia. Rich’s experience is in helping raise awareness and funds for the projects in the field. He has accompanied a few rescue missions in Borneo but his work is mainly in New York and online—advocating on behalf of orangutans, promoting the cause and communicating the critical need to help them before it’s too late.
What inspired you to work with orangutans?
I’ve loved orangutans since I was a child. I went in a different direction professionally and it was only later in life—when I realized just how perilously close the orangutans were to extinction in the wild—that I decided I needed to do something to help them. After traveling to Indonesia and seeing the utter devastation to their forests and the rescue center cages full of hundreds of orphaned and displaced orangutans staring out with such sadness and desperation in their eyes, I decided to dedicate my life to helping them. I created Orangutan Outreach in 2007 as a way to raise awareness of the crisis facing wild orangutans and to raise funds for the rescue projects in Borneo and Sumatra.
Can you tell us a brief story about an individual orangutan that was personally affected by human encroachment?
Every orangutan in every rescue center has been affected by human encroachment. Whenever there is a conflict, the human always wins. Orangutans—and elephants, rhinos, tigers, monkey, you name it—always fall victim to the constant expansion of human settlement and the destruction of their habitat by logging, palm oil, and mining companies. Every baby in a rescue center was torn off his or her dying mother. These innocent babies are traumatized—just as any human baby would be if pulled from its mother. And for each infant confiscated and brought to a rehabilitation center, it’s estimated that anywhere from four to nine did not survive. It’s horrific what is being done to these creatures… for no fault of their own they are being wiped out of existence by humans.
Let me tell you two quick stories. The first is Rickina, who was rescued by our partners International Animal Rescue (IAR) when she was less than a year old. When they confiscated her she has a gaping machete wound in her skull—obviously received when the poachers killer her mother. The wound was fresh. Rickina is now doing really well—thanks to the expert care of the team at IAR Ketapang. She is quite famous online—with more than 350,000 views of her video on YouTube.
Baby Orangutan Rickina is being cared for at IAR Ketapang (and can be adopted!). Photo © International Animal Rescue.
Another amazing story is Gober, a blind, older female orangutan being cared for by our partners Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). When she was caught eating fruit in the garden of a local villager she was going to be killed. Instead she was rescued and brought to the SOCP quarantine center. She had cataracts and could barely see. She was housed in a cage next to a younger male orangutan (named Leuser) who had been shot with a pellet gun more than a hundred times by local villagers. He was totally blind and the fact that he’d even survived is testament to the phenomenal will to live of orangutans. Well, orangutans never cease to amaze… nine months later Gober gave birth to beautiful twins, Ganteng and Ginting. Twins are extremely rare among orangutans—which makes sense given the fact that in the wild they spend their lives high up in the treetops. Imagine trying to move around in the canopy carrying two babies! Gober had successful cataract surgery and her sight has been partially restored. Hopefully she and the twins will be released back into the wild later this year!
Gober & the Twins are being cared for by SOCP (and can be adopted!) Photo © Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.
Why are orangutans endangered in the wild?
The expansionary activities of the timber, mining and palm oil industries have led to a catastrophic decrease in wild orangutan populations. Palm oil has been the main contributor to the orangutan genocide in the last decade. Around 90% of the global supply of palm oil comes from Indonesia & Malaysia and this has come at a tremendous cost for biodiversity. Indonesian forests are being burned to the ground—releasing so much carbon into the atmosphere that Indonesia now ranks only behind China and US in carbon emissions—and it is barely industrialized. The UNEP estimates that the forests of Indonesia are being cleared at a rate of six football fields per minute, every minute of every day.
The palm oil industry is guilty of truly heinous ecological atrocities. The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the only place where these gentle, intelligent creatures live, and the cultivation of palm oil has directly led to the brutal deaths of thousands of individuals as the industry has expanded into previously undisturbed areas of rainforest at an alarming rate.
When the forest is cleared, adult orangutans are killed on sight. These peaceful, sentient beings who share approximately 97% of our DNA are shot, macheted, beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured and often eaten. Babies are literally torn off their dying mothers so they can be sold on the black market as illegal pets to wealthy families who see them as status symbols of their own power and prestige. This has been documented time and again.
Have you seen any recovery of wild orphaned orangutans (e.g. is reintroduction possible)?
Reintroduction is very possible! Over the last year and a half, our partners at BOS have released more than 100 rehabilitated orangutans into a safe and secure forest deep in the heart of Borneo—far away from bulldozers and oil palm companies. And the population is flourishing! While there has been one death reported there have been multiple births recorded by the post-release monitoring team. The cycle of life continues in the forest for the world’s first re-created orangutan population. It takes roughly 250-300 individuals to create a stable population so there are many releases to go before the forest has reached carrying capacity according to strict IUCN guidelines. What BOS needs now is to find more forests to release more orangutans. There are still around 600 orangutans being cared for at the Nyaru Menteng Facility. They also have orangutans in East Kalimantan who are gradually being released into a separate forest. IAR is doing the same in West Kalimantan. They’ve been able to release orangutans from their excellent new facility in Ketapang. SOCP has a successful release program in Northern Sumatra. All these projects and programs are ongoing—and are only possible due to the generosity of donors.
BOS Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Release Photo © Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.
Enrichment comes in many forms—food enrichment, social enrichment, object enrichment, and structural enrichment—but sometimes the most enriching things are completely unintentional. Nearly two years ago, JB took out the extremely heavy drain covers we used to have and exchanged them for lightweight covers. They are much easier to handle for the humans, but also much more likely the chimps could get it. However, the covers are durable and pose no danger to the chimps, so the risk of them grabbing it versus practically breaking our backs every time we had to lift the heavy drain cover was worth it!
After JB put in the new covers, we took bets on when the chimps (particularly Jamie) would get it. I guessed about 20 minutes after they had access to the playroom. Diana guessed that night while the humans were away, and JB guessed within 48 hours. We were all wrong! Twenty-three months was the actual answer. We didn’t see how she got it, but when we came into the chimp area a few days ago, Jamie had removed the drain cover, finally.
After removing it, she proceeded to clean it with some scraps of paper. Annie was very interested in watching her—I’m sure they know it is something they aren’t really supposed to have. (Kind of like this time we played keep-away with a laundry basket).
You’ll notice in the video that there is quite a mess in the playroom—it was the day after the Lunar New Year party, so there was a lot to clean up. Once breakfast was brought out, Jamie dropped the drain cover and exited the playroom so we could enter to retrieve it and clean up the party. As far as I am aware she hasn’t bothered to get the drain cover since, but it certainly was enriching for her that morning.
Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Lynn Williamson, Connie Lamm, and Sue Rowlett, in memory of Dr. Mel Richardson. Today would have been Dr. Mel’s 64th birthday. His dear friend, Lynn, wanted to share these beautiful sentiments:
“Happy birthday to our dear friend Mel. I have gone to the phone and laptop a number of times to reach out to you, and then I remember. You are greatly missed. Some of the things I miss most are: you had my back always, you had a lovely accent, you had a big beautiful smile, you had a wicked sense of humor, you were so smart and witty that I could listen to you talk on any topic – in particular of your adventures, your vast knowledge of, and love for, animals and veterinary medicine.
Mel also had a resilient personality but a very tender heart. Mel introduced me to the sanctuary and to the chimps – because of that, I have these 7 amazing beings in my life. I also am honored to now be friends with the most amazing bunch of humans who share my values and ethics. So thank you, Mel, for this and more. See you again some day.”
Jody, Jamie, Annie and Burrito on Young’s Hill:
And these lovely thoughts from Sue:
“I had never met Mel but have worked with Lynn Williamson for many years and what he shared with, and taught her, was carried forward by her to me and to others. Like when a rock is dropped in the water and the ripples fan out. The difference being Mel’s ripple effect doesn’t stop.”
Thank you so much, Lynn, Connie and Sue, for honoring Mel in such a generous way and for including the chimpanzees in this special day.
Jamie enjoying her view:
If you have been following our blog recently, you probably realize by now that Dr. Mel was a very special person, loved by so many throughout the animal kingdom. We are truly touched and honored by all those who have wished to honor Dr. Mel’s memory through their support of the chimpanzees. More than one person wished to sponsor today in celebration of Mel’s life so please check back later for another sponsorship and the chimpanzees’ party in his memory.
Missy is Annie’s best friend, but she is more dominant on the chimp hierarchy. Today she took Annie’s place in a huge paper nest Annie built (called “displacement”), but Annie didn’t get upset—instead, she started to play.