I just wanted to report that I did in fact run around the outside of Young’s Hill the other day. I was so grateful for all who donated to Missy Games, I felt I owed it to you.
There is a video of it, but it’s frankly pretty boring – just me moving (not nearly as fast as it felt) around the fence in struggled silence. It seemed like it took forever and the uphill was pretty challenging. I tried to go as fast as I could. The video says it took almost exactly 2 minutes. I should have timed it before we hooked up the fence to the raceway, but I’m guessing it would have taken 20 seconds or less to run around the entire building. What I’m trying to impart is that Young’s Hill is enormous. It’s really difficult to capture the size of it in photographs. I tried a few weeks ago from across the river – see the photo below. Just compare the size of the building in that photo to the hill.
Of course the indoor space will always be important for the chimpanzees, particularly in the winter. The design of the building incorporates vertical space, which is crucial to chimpanzees, and has a lot of options. It’s temperature-controlled and stays pretty cool in the summer and nice and warm even when it’s cold outside.
It will be so interesting to see how the chimps use the hill – where they hang out and what they do out there. There’s endless improvements and structures that can be added, but I think it’s a really great start to more freedom than Annie, Jody and Negra have known since their capture in Africa and more freedom than Burrito, Foxie, Jamie and Missy have ever known.
The next birthday that is coming up is Annie’s on September 10th. The hill won’t be complete by then, but it will be closer. Any suggestions for how we should celebrate?