Mornings are my favorite time at CSNW. The chimps have had their breakfast and they are all geared up to go out and explore Young’s Hill. Unfortunately it is also the time when we clean the enclosures, so we don’t have much of a chance to sit around and watch them. But it’s amazing how much you can witness in just those first few minutes.
This morning, Foxie took a suitcase full of trolls out to the hill.
She later decided to put the trolls on her back as she walked down the hill, the way a chimp mother would carry her infant. As far as I know, three trolls was a personal record for her.
Missy likes to start the day with some athletic activity, especially this time of year. It’s no secret that January in Cle Elum is not perfect chimp weather, but interestingly enough, the Cle Elum Seven seem to prefer spring and fall to the hot summer months and we are actually seeing them go outdoors more now that the temperatures are in the 60’s.
Today, Missy used the handrail on the shaky bridge as a tightrope. This has become one of her new favorite moves. She’s holding a chow bag in these photos. We still supplement the chimps diet of fresh produce, nuts, seeds, and browse with a small amount of a commercially prepared diet. The manufacturer of the chow that we use recently decided to shrink the bicuits to a quarter of their original size, and now it is too cumbersome to serve them directly to the chimps. So we put them in bags. The chimps actually enjoy this, because they can take their chow out to picnic on the hill more easily. Or walk a tightrope with them.
There was a skirmish in the playroom this morning before breakfast. This is fairly typical, because that is the time of day when Burrito tends to display, and he inevitably gets everyone else so worked up that someone ends up mad a someone else. I didn’t see the conflict between Jody and Missy, but it was clear from their behavior later in the morning that they needed to reconcile.
Jody was coming back down the hill with her leftover lemon from breakfast when she saw Missy on the shaky bridge. (Yes, chimps love raw lemons. Raw onions too. We like to serve the lemons after the onions to freshen up the breath.) Jody immediately became pilo erect (hair standing on end) and approached Missy for reassurance.
The two then touched briefly and then Jody went on her way.
Negra came outside this morning but after a few minutes she decided she’d rather be in the greenhouse under a huge pile of blankets. Negra is not a morning person. She’s not really an afternoon or evening person, either. Really, she would prefer to stay in bed all day if she could. If only the staff would bring her meals to her in bed.
Burrito continues to explore more and more of the hill. He is really getting more comfortable out there. Today he climbed up a structure by himself and sat for a while on the end of a beam, taking it all in.
Here he is sitting on the log bridge, showing off some new scars on his wrist. Chimpanzees, especially male chimpanzees, use the back of their wrists to bang on things when they display, and sometimes to bang on other chimps. This is what primatologists refer to as a “backhand thump.” So many male chimps have thick callouses on the backs of their wrists and often some scabs and scars too.
I didn’t intend for this to be a post about each and every one of the chimps, but now I feel bad leaving Annie and Jamie out. Annie just followed Missy around all morning, as she always does, probably wishing that Missy would just sit still for a minute. But Missy is incapable of sitting still.
And Jamie was kind of a loner this morning. It used to be that Burrito would follow her around the hill. I think she enjoyed that. Not the company so much as getting to be the leader. Now Burrito will follow Jody or even venture off on his own as he did this morning. That left Jamie walking around by herself. But she had fun too. Everyone loves the shaky bridge. Maybe we’ll build some more next summer.