Burrito and volunteer caregiver Whitney played a game of tug-o-war the other day.
Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’
The Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees had lived together in the lab for a few years before they came to the sanctuary, so they were already an established group when we met them. Like any family, theirs contained a range of personalities. Some were dominant and some were submissive, some were serious and some were fun-loving, some were social and some were independent.
When the group first arrived at the sanctuary eight years ago, Jody and Negra kept to themselves pretty consistently. They would show up to meals, but that was about the only group activity they showed any interest in. For most of the day, they would each find a quiet spot, make a nest, and enjoy their solitude.
We love that the chimps have the freedom to make their own choices, so we were glad that Negra and Jody were spending their days in the ways that made them happy. Still, as we watched some of the other chimps find joy and comfort in companionship, we couldn’t help but wish that Jody and Negra would open themselves up to this experience.
Fast forward eight years: Today we know a Jody and a Negra who still appreciate their alone time, but who also regularly seek out soothing grooming sessions or gentle play sessions with their friends. They remain fundamentally the same people we met years ago, but now their worlds are just a little bigger.
Today was sponsored by Shelley Winfrey in memory of her brother, Kevin Clark. Shelley is a long-time friend to the chimps and humans here at the sanctuary and generously sponsors this day each year in Kevin’s honor. She shared this message about today:
“For my brother, who passed away…he would have loved the chimps!”
Shelley, thank you so much holding the chimpanzees in your heart as you remember your brother today. We are so touched that you would think of them in such a meaningful way. We are happy to honor Kevin here today and all of us are thinking of you. We hope you have a day filled with good memories and the comfort, love, and peace that you help provide the chimpanzees.
Shelley’s handsome pal, Burrito:
Burrito is probably not the smartest member of his group and he’s surely not the most dominant. But whatever he lacks in brains and brawn, he more than makes up for in charm.
Is this the same guy that spit water in my ear just hours ago and picked fights with his group mates all morning? Couldn’t be. Just look at him.
The chimpanzees continue to spend time playing on/in/and around their newest structure, “Twister.” Jamie loves to investigate the happenings of the neighborhood and finds the vantage from the crow’s nest to be the perfect spot to keep tabs on the locals. She is always interested in whatever is going on at the neighboring ranches (after all it is her job), but she seems particularly vigilant since the recent brush fire she alerted us to.
It may just be a coincidence or she may just be really loving what a great view she has, but Jamie’s been rushing out and climbing up to her lookout in the mornings and loves to spend time up there as a stopping point during her evening walks with her caregivers as well. Whatever the reason, we are so grateful she has one more tower from which to be Queen of the Hill. I kind of feel like she needs a Jolly Roger flag up there.
Today, Negra was the first on the hill for the forage. At one point, she heard or saw something that she wanted to investigate further, so she stood up bipedally. This is not a posture we see Negra adopting very often, so I was very pleased to have gotten photographs:
She looks pretty innocent and sweet, doesn’t she?
Well, let’s not forget that she is a chimpanzee. Last week, before the drama of the fire, this sweet and innocent queen of the sanctuary caught and ate a hummingbird.
I really like hummingbirds, and I don’t wish a violent end to any life, but, at the same time, I did experience a feeling somewhat related to pride… it’s not an easy task to catch a hummingbird, and it’s a pretty “chimpanzee thing” to do for a not-very-active, old grandma of a chimp who has lived in captivity almost her entire life.
This day of sanctuary is sponsored by Joan O’Flaherty in memory of her parents, Ned and Noreen O’Flaherty, on their anniversary.