Here’s a video to illustrate what we mean when we say that Jamie is always busy. A quick synopsis: get a new drink container (thanks Makenzie!), inspect, drink, share with Foxie, remove straw. Get some paper (she loves paper that has already been scribbled on), get some crayons, poke at Sarah, color. Get some more crayons, put crayons in drink container. Drink crayon water, inspect. Grab onion peel from lunch and think up something to do with it. Adjust onion peel for receipt of water, dab onion peel in water, pour water in onion peel. Use onion peel to scrub paper. Pour water into plastic brush (after removing the bristles), use onion peel to sponge up water. Suck water out of onion peel (this is a natural chimp behavior – in the wild they’ve been observed using leaves to sponge up water and then drink it). Repeat. Repeat.
Can you imagine her being stuck in a lab cage for so many years?
Shelly C says
Hi Sarah….the video will not work for some reason…..
Shelly C says
It is saying…the video you have requested is not available…..
I love this video. I sent the link to a bunch of people. That Jamie is one curious gal.
Candace (Tyler, TX) says
Is that Foxie banging on a troll doll in the background? Like the new container Makenzie and so does Jamie.
Can someone explain a lab’s reasoning behind not giving chimps enrichment, blankets or anything to occupy their minds. Are labs cheap, lazy, thought it would interfere with testing results, it’s such a small thing to do to make chimpanzees happy.
Amy M. says
Oh! What I wouldn’t give to know the what Jamie and her cohorts are thinking, the thought processes behind what they do!
Sara Lissabet says
It’s so fascinating to see how they try so many different things out with everything they can touch – new tastes, new feels, “what-happens-when-I-do-this” with everything! It’s such an amazing world for them – they are “adults” but are now just getting the opportunity to learn like infants. I just can’t imagine (it brings me such sadness) to think of the utter boredom and deadness of their environment for so many years in the lab. I can’t tell you the joy I feel just watching them figure something out!
Jeani Goodrich says
I’m at school so I can’t see the video but Sarah, your description is priceless. I can see Jamie doing all that in my mind and am looking forward to seeing the real video at home tonight. Thank you Sarah for the vivid imagery with your words.
Candace – It’s frustrating to think of chimps in labs without enrichment, isn’t it? For the most part, I think the logic is that giving lots of enrichment is too hard to clean up. For example, if chimps in lab cages had blankets, the blankets would have to be washed everyday. If you have a few hundred chimps that’s a few hundred blankets a day. We wash about 30 – 40 a day here and it keeps us busy all day long. And as our staff and volunteers can attest – we spend a good portion of our day cleaning up the big wonderful messes that the chimps make here!
Plus – if they sit in the same cage and don’t shift around between enclosures, it’s hard to get enrichment back (because the chimps hang onto it). Many labs do give a little bit of enrichment, like a hard plastic ball. This can be hosed off when the rest of the cage is hosed, so it doesn’t add much more work.
There are some scientists who think that giving out one item offers more stimulation than many items because they spend more time playing with that one particular item. I’m sure there are also some who would say that adding lots of enrichment would interfere with the data being collected. JB, Diana and I are also scientists, and of course – we disagree! Non-invasive behavioral research (such as simply sitting and observing) can offer a lot of clues into how to care for chimpanzees better, but the data would be pretty much worthless if collected by observing chimpanzees who are mentally deprived.
I love watching Jamie when she is “busy.” I can’t imagine how bored and miserable she must have been sitting in a cage with nothing to do all day. Poor thing! It’s a wonder these chimps don’t turn violent without any enrichment. It’s a disgrace that labs don’t offer them something to occupy their intelligent minds. If I were there, I would be happy to help clean up the wonderful messes they make Sarah. It would be worth the work to know that they are enjoying themselves. Great video….thank you for sharing.
Linda (Portland, OR) says
I’m pretty sure that Jamie’s “Dip/Suck-up/Pour/Wipe & Repeat” water presentation may be the best video I’ve seen so far. Made me cry a bit, but good crying. So many amazing things have come out of these chimps because something as simple as letting them out of a cage happened. CSNW………………..thanks so very much for what you’re doing and for sharing it with all of us!! Open up a dictionary and look up the word “hero”, I’m sure it’s defined as “CSNW”……….
Jeani Goodrich says
Wow! What a video! It is so heart warming to know the chimps are finally happy and can do as much as they want with lots of different enrichments! I agree with Linda about the definition of hero. Thank you.
Laura Bee says
I just love the close-up shots of her beautiful hands at work. Really incredible. Thanks for the video!
Margaret and Karen says
Lovely video, Sarah. So nice to see such a long video of Jamie. Love it.
Shelly Knapp says
Sarah, thank you so much for the video and for your posts on this.