While all of the staff here at CSNW have a great deal of experience with chimpanzee behavior, we obviously can’t get inside the minds of the chimps and know what they are truly thinking. But, my non-scientific side of self sometimes really wishes I could!
One of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked since construction on Young’s Hill began is whether or not I think the chimps know that Young’s Hill is for them. Part of me wants to say “Of course! They must know that everything we do around here revolves around them, right?” I would have to guess that the installation of the climbing structures (which look very similar to the one in their current outdoor area) had to be a good sign for them, but again, we can’t get inside of their heads, so as smart as I know they are, I just cannot say for sure.
But I think we now have a pretty good reason to believe that at least some folks do, in fact, know.
During construction of the raceway (the tunnel that connects the current outdoor area to Young’s Hill), the chimps had to be locked out of the outdoor area. A couple of days later, J.B. was checking to make sure a key worked on one of the locks near the raceway (not the one that unlocked the raceway door, mind you). As soon as he pulled out the keys and walked towards the caging, Jamie, Jody, and Foxie all jumped up and started hugging and breathy panting in excitement! J.B. said that Jody and Foxie eventually walked away, but that Jamie sat at the raceway door gesturing towards him, banging on the cage, and tugging on the door for at least 10 minutes.
So, guess what, they know.
My heart sung when I heard about this! I’m sure part of me knew it all along, but it feels so validating and real now… and makes the wait for the day that they finally go out that much more agonizing!
So, when I took the following photos of Negra looking out towards the work happening on Young’s Hill today, I couldn’t help but wonder “Does she know, too?” I’d be willing to bet she does, and that they’ve all been “rolling their eyes”, so to speak (chimps don’t really roll their eyes), when they heard us discussing whether or not they “know” that Young’s Hill is for them.
No pressure, J.B. 😉
Thanks so much to J.B. and all of our hard working volunteers that have come out to help be a part of making “The Hill” a reality! You guys are going to make Negra’s day!
Kat Morrell says
Do you have an ETA for letting them run out into Young’sHill?
About 4 to 6 weeks!!
Chuck Pappas says
Chuck, we would all love for you and your lovely wife to come and help J.B. get this thing done, pronto.
Amy M says
They are rolling their eyes AND saying, “What’s taking them so LONG??!”
Jackie — this post brought me to tears.
The progress on the Hill has been very good but there is still so MUCH to do. Please if you have a day that you can come and volunteer contact J.B. and set up a day and time. Play hookie from work, bring a co-worker and have a day in the sun in Eastern Wa. Some of the things are hard heavy work and then there are jobs like picking up and cleaning and running for tools. There is something to do for everyone so come join in and help get the CE7 out on that Hill sooner rather than later.
Because I know in my heart they know this is for them, so let’s get them out there before the weather turns.
Candy (Tyler, Texas) says
I love the photos of Negra, absolutely beautiful. I’ve always thought they are aware the hill is for them, I think they know the raceway will allow them to move to another section of the facility, from their own experiences. I think Jamie and Negra will be the first out onto the hill and Foxie and Burrito the last.
I hope the grass won’t be too much of a deterrent for them going out onto the hill. They may love eating the grass but walking on it, for the first time for some of them, could cause anxiety for them. After watching the Save the Chimps video of a family being released onto an island and grass, there will be a heck of a lot of hugging and screaming. Maybe you could put some sod down inside or outside the doorway, to the outside, to see if they might investigate the grass, probably eat it or take a few steps on it.
Marcia Douthwaite says
I would think they do know this is for them and they are looking forward to going out in the fresh air and will get used to the grass. Thanks for the photos of Negra, Jackie–she is a Queen!!
There is no way to predict who will be out the door first, second or last but I would love to see Negra amble slowly through the raceway and onto Young’s Hill. I would love to see her sit down and put her face to the sun with her eyes closed like the picture I have on my desktop.
I can’t but feel that the hill will mean the world to Negra as I believe she dreams of being outside. Her dream is soon to come true.
I am curious, once they get out there how do you plan to get them back in at night? I am enjoying being a part of the volunteer team/work party to get them out sooner not later. See you tomorrow.
Barbara, thank you for volunteering to help with Young’s Hill, it’s a very exciting time for everyone near and far. I hope you will be able to take a moment to sit on the hill and take in the view the 7 will have once they are able to be on the Hill, it’s wonderfull.
The beauty of the Sanctuary is that the chimps have the option to make their own decisions on so many aspects of their lives now. We can’t/don’t make them do anything they don’t want to do. If they choose to stay out for a meal then that is their choice.
Evenings here in the foot hills of the Cascades can get cool quick and it is my guess that once it starts to cool down they will head in for the evening. Jamie has on occasion stayed out in the green house after everyone else has gone in to bed down but not often. Also, after a life time indoors it is my opinion that the building holds some form of security and comfort for them, but if someone decides to stay out that will be their choice and the staff will work around it.
I know, they know…I just do! 🙂 Yes, I’m sure there will be a little reluctance at first for some of them on the new “surface” but I don’t think it will be an issue for very long as who doesn’t love to walk on new, fresh grass….barefoot! I have a little wiener dog…I know…no comparison but she was a rescue from a puppy mill and had never set foot on anything but cement for the first yr. of her life and yes, there was some adjusting to grass and earth but didn’t take very long for her to love a much more natural feel, underfoot!
None of us can wait to see what the Magnificent 7 will do when they are finally free on Young’s Hill! Loved this post and these photos of Negra say it all, in her eyes!
marie cross ( uk ) says
so exciting ! youngs hill is going to be the highlight of our year ! i cant imagine how excited you all are 🙂 i wondered when you get a final date can we have a countdown x