The site that we now call Young’s Hill was once just an empty horse pasture. Here it is in 2010, before we started construction:
A wide open pasture may be great for horses, but it’s awfully boring for chimps. And growing a forest from scratch takes a long time. Thankfully, we were introduced to Jackie Heinricher of Booshoot Gardens (now Provitro BioSciences) and she found a solution for us: bamboo!
We initially planted two groves on Young’s Hill and just recently planted some in the chimps’ greenhouse. It’s a great source of shade in the summer, and it’s also great for climbing, nesting, and eating.
Yesterday, we planted three new species of bamboo on the hill, including Phyllostachys nigra, which has beautiful black culms. All were generously donated to us by Provitro.
The chimps were really excited, though I admit it may have had a little to do with the corn, leeks, onions, and carrots that we spread around the hill.
We’ve never heard the chimps so vocal on the hill before. As they foraged, everyone was pant-hooting with excitement.
Foxie is always suspicious of new things, so at first she and Dora kept kept their distance from the new bamboo:
And Jamie wasn’t quite sure what to make of it either:
But soon everyone took a turn sitting under the new plants:
Yesterday was a great day for all of us and Negra must have gotten caught up in the excitement because she did something we have never seen her do before: she climbed up onto the shaky bridge!
Negra has lost over 10 pounds since coming to the sanctuary, and probably gained a lot of muscle, but she is still not in good enough shape to keep up with the activities of some of the other chimps. If she keeps this up, though, she may soon be giving Missy a run for her money!
We built a few of the structures on Young’s Hill specifically for Negra – they are close to the building and can be accessed without a lot of climbing. Maybe they’ll come in handy when she’s older because for now, Negra has decided that the whole hill is hers.