Today I brought paper and some crayons out to the barn doors outside. I sat down and colored on a piece of paper and several chimps gathered around to watch. Jamie seemed the most excited, so I gave the first piece of paper and crayon to her. She was so excited! She immediately started coloring. I gave her more colors and she held on to them all, choosing between colors as she drew. Here’s one of her first projects! Also, she’s a lefty, just like me! –Sarah
Archives for June 2008
We recently gave the chimpanzees a bunch of plastic mirrors, thanks to a generous donation by Laird Plastics. The chimpanzees were thrilled to be able to examine their own faces. Foxie even used her mirror to practice her “hoot face”. But Negra had something else in mind. She has been using them to spy on us with her back turned. Now she won’t even sit down with us face to face! J.B.
Sarah had a brilliant idea the other day – registering at stores for some items we need for the chimp house and some things we’d love to have, including toys for the chimpanzees. So far, we’ve registered at Target for a housewarming enrichment party for the chimpanzees on July 20th. We’ll continue to add stuff to the registry in the coming days, but we have a good sized list going now. As you’ll see we need a lot of storage items. You can find it by going to this link: http://www.target.com/lists/SNL0NKQGP6OU or by searching at target.com under ‘wishlists’, choosing ‘advanced search’ and typing in “chimpanzee sanctuary northwest” under the organization name field.
Aside from the items on the Target registry, there are a few other things that we are in need of that are more day-to-day items:
For the kitchen and general cleaning: paper cups, paper lunch sacks, herbal tea (esp. berry flavored), seal-able freezer bags, ‘friendly’ dish soap such as Planet brand (for Jamie’s cleaning), disposable medical exam gloves, sturdy garbage bags, very large non-breakable bowls
To give to the chimpanzees: new or gently used sheets, sturdy scrub brushes, new sturdy hair brushes, non-toxic paint, inexpensive canvases for painting (on cardboard backer, not stretched on frame), rolls of paper such as butcher paper or plain brown wrapping paper, new large paint brushes, non-toxic paint, sturdy wading pools (notice the “sturdy” theme), new or nearly new socks, unused non-toxic and animal friendly lipstick and other make-up
I know there’s lots more – that’s just what’s coming to me at the moment. We’ll be making our online wishlist more up-to-date very soon. Thanks!!
Sometimes the simplest things provide entertainment. Today (Thursday), Sarah brought in a few pairs of socks she no longer wanted. Jamie was the first person to try them out. She took the longest pair and put one over her hand, pulling it all the way up to her armpit. She walked around for quite some time like that, then pulled it off and put it on the other arm. Missy put another sock over her left foot. She made a point of showing me her foot with the sock when she saw me.
Today was a good day. Jamie greeted us wearing a necktie she fashioned out of a strip of sheet. Negra was stubborn about leaving the front rooms after breakfast (while it sometimes messes with the routine, stubbornness is a characteristic I find completely understandable in captive chimpanzees, and I actually appreciate when someone decides they can choose to do what they want rather than going with what the humans want). For dinner, we had a big watermelon forage, and, for the first time since they arrived, the building erupted in food grunts. Then, during dinner, Missy sat in a banana box and ate her watermelon. What more could anyone ask for in a day at a chimpanzee sanctuary? Diana
We have been learning a lot about all of the chimpanzees over the last few days. Jamie is quite amazing. She figured out the lazy susan feeding doors in about 2 sec. She really enjoys the enrichment that we’ve been giving out – she’s spent many hours cleaning with the brushes and big buckets of soapy water that we have given her. The second day we left the bucket in room two. When the chimpanzees were let back into that room, Jamie immediately went for the bucket – ignoring all of the fruit that we had also left in the room, which is pretty remarkable because she loves fruit and can get angry if someone else gets an apple or orange that she wants. Instead, she protected the bucket and would not let any of the other chimpanzees near it until she had tired of cleaning – which took over an hour. She was very focused and thourough in her cleaning, concentrating on one concrete step for a long time, then washing a mug in her bucket as though it were a sink.Today, Sarah and J.B. report that Jamie tied a bow – she took a piece of string, put it around her neck, and tied it into a bow. These things indicate that Jamie was raised in a very human environment prior to being sold to Buckshire. We hope to find out more. Although it is a testament to their intelligence and ability to learn, it always saddens me a bit when chimpanzees do things which they only could have learned in a human environment. It makes me wonder how Jamie views herself and if she once saw herself as a human, or perhaps still does. We as humans have taken away ‘normal’ chimpanzee culture by raising chimpanzees in captivity, and often we replace that with aspects of our own culture, so the chimpanzee is left with no place to really fit in.On a positive note, we will be working hard to keep Jamie occupied and interested in her surroundings and we will provide her with her favorite things as we learn what they are.Diana