Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

Social Complexity In Action

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

You may remember Diana’s post from last year about the interesting dynamic in the relationship between Jamie and Burrito. As it happens, Missy and Negra have a complicated relationship as well. When it comes to food, Negra is definitely more dominant and Missy will generally let her have whatever she wants, even if it is reluctantly. You might think that this dynamic would affect their friendship, but it doesn’t seem to, at least not in an obvious way. Missy doesn’t appear to hold a grudge against Negra for pulling rank and is just as happy to play with her as with her friend Annie when the opportunity arises.

It is interesting to note that a similar dynamic exists between Annie and Missy but in this case it is Annie that gives up her food at Missy’s request. So, I imagine it’s not just Missy and Negra or Jamie and Burrito that are complicated. Overall chimpanzee social relationships appear to develop much more complexity than a simple dominance hierarchy suggests.

Here is Negra taking one of Missy’s chow bags:

And here they are enjoying a play session together:



New boots

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Laura Herzog, who donated this oil painting for the upcoming Hoot! auction, also sent some boots over to Jamie. I got some pictures of her looking pretty content in a nest this morning with her new boots.



Losing your head

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

As you might imagine, routine is very important for the chimpanzees, especially after spending decades in the uncertain environment of labs. We all feel a little better knowing what to expect from our environment and the other beings in it, especially when someone else might have certain control over a situation that we don’t. One example of the chimpanzees’ routine here at CSNW is how we invite them to move from one area to another so that we can clean their enclosures. After we clean the chimpanzees’ play room in the morning we scatter a treat for them to forage for when they are given access to the room again. The chimps know to expect this and as they see us nearing the end of cleaning they start getting excited and want to see what we’re are going to put out for them. This not only helps us encourage them to move to different areas, but also gives them something to look forward to as well as to encourage their natural foraging behavior. But it’s always the chimpanzees’ choice to leave an area or not and if someone wants to stay where they are, well then, we just wait it out until they are ready to leave the area.

Today we decided to give the chimps a special treat by putting out entire heads of lettuce. For whatever reason, the chimps get pretty excited over lettuce in general and of course, it’s extra exciting to be able to have a whole item to yourself as opposed to pieces (kind of like me and chocolate bars, for example).

Jamie, enjoying her lettuce and mildly tolerating the paparazzi:


Despite it being an exciting forage item, the chimpanzees were all generous with one another and at some point, choosing to share their spoils with each other. In this photo, Jody had just asked Jamie for permission to have this lettuce and you can see her glancing to the side where Jamie is sitting out of frame:


Unfortunately, the light wasn’t cooperating for pictures of Negra but I can tell you that she had so many heads of lettuce that she had to scoot across the floor on her bottom all the way back to her nest because her hands and feet were full! Here is Burrito cautiously reaching toward Negra’s stash which she kindly allowed him to do:


Foxie finds some blueberries:


Annie scooped up her lettuce and headed for the greenhouse. But her plan to avoid the crowd failed and she found herself the center of a lot of food peering. Foxie is in the background here:


Foxie and Jody were very persistent in their attempts to convince Annie to share. But Annie was equally persistent in keeping her lettuce for herself. Even if she had to enjoy it in a rather awkward position (you can see Jody waiting patiently behind her):



Annie was surrounded as Foxie continued to peer from above:


Annie eventually did share her last bites with Jody and Foxie. It was probably all the “peer” pressure (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I didn’t catch any photos of Missy because she was smartly cornered away in the top of the playroom, out of sight. But in the end, everyone was able to enjoy some lettuce, whether they found their own, covertly took it from someone else, or found a friend in an altruistic mood.

Eyes on Apes website

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

One of our missions at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is to advocate for apes everywhere, which is why we developed the program Eyes on Apes. The idea is to have one centralized area for people to learn about issues that apes face both in captivity and in the wild, while providing tools for you to take action.

There’s a lot of great information on the pages for each of the issues (entertainment, pets, roadside zoos, biomedical research, and free-living issues in Africa and Asia).

One thing we just added were some pages on individual trainers in the entertainment industry. This is a really nice resource for people to have when you hear about a chimp in a commercial or movie and are curious what it is like for them with their trainers. Each page lists facts about the trainers, any relevant USDA citations, and links to our action alerts about productions these trainers were involved in.

Please share this site with your friends, and help raise awareness for apes everywhere! You can ask them to sign up for our Take Action list in order to get action alerts and help make a difference for apes everywhere.

Take a look through all the pages—there’s been some makeovers throughout the site, like this informational map showing the current vs. historical population of African apes:


And, since this was a little bit of a wordy post, I thought I’d throw in a picture of Negra from this morning’s breakfast forage on Young’s Hill:


Carried Away

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

On a typical day at the sanctuary, we put out around 60 blankets for the chimpanzees. They use the blankets to build large, soft nests.

Jody, in particular, loves her blankets. (Watch a video from a few years ago of Jody building a nest out of a million blankets here.) She loves her blankets so much that she often picks up her whole nest and carries it with her when she decides to move from one area to another. While the other chimps tend to abandon their nests when they leave the area and build a new one elsewhere, it seems Jody doesn’t want to risk being left blanketless.




Still life with Missy

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

If you are a regular follower of the blog you probably realize it’s a rare moment that we catch Missy sitting still. Just yesterday I saw her on Young’s Hill trying to climb the very uncooperative and very bendy bamboo. She finally gave up, leapt into the air and spun 360 degrees before landing, and then ran back down the hill at full speed.

Today all the chimpanzees have been enjoying a leisurely day of lounging, grooming, and napping. And even the ever-moving Missy decided to take a few minutes to relax. But Missy still throws a little of her own flare into relaxing. While she is having a Missy-style quiet moment in these photos, (and what I unfortunately couldn’t capture with the camera) she is simultaneously tapping her best pal, Annie, on the head as Annie bites Missy’s toes.






Are you going to eat that?

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Breakfast this morning at the sanctuary was a leisurely affair in a warm and cozy greenhouse. The chimpanzees enjoyed apples, pears and the fruit smoothie in addition to their chow. The menu appeared to be quite popular with everyone today and there was quite a bit of food peering going on. Food peering is a common occurrence in chimpanzee communities and is observed in both captive and free-living situations. Essentially, it is a nonverbal way of asking, “Are you going to eat all of that?” As a method of communication, it can be more or less effective given the audience and the mood. Today, although there were quite a few instances of it, there were not very many instances of actual food sharing, so, I would say as a strategy it was, on the whole, largely ineffective.

On a Mission

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

This afternoon Foxie was lying on the platform in the greenhouse when she spotted a troll doll lying on the ground. She jumped the few feet from the platform to the ground to rescue the abandoned troll.






More play communication

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Just earlier this week I posted a video I caught of Foxie using exaggerated signals to get Negra to play with her. Today, it was Missy initiating the play with Foxie! And of course, Foxie couldn’t resist.