Many of us are aware of how much we have in common with chimpanzees. But even as caregivers who get to spend our days with the chimpanzees, we often do a double take when we see them exhibiting behaviors or postures we see as particularly human. It has been a hot and easy going day at the sanctuary today and the chimpanzees have spent most of their time lounging in various positions in the greenhouse. Diana caught Annie looking as though she wished she had a pool to dip her toes into.
Archives for July 2013
We have some largely unsung heroes that are a big part of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest – our Board of Directors who volunteer countless hours overseeing the organization. We decided it’s about time we sung about them, so this is the first of a monthly series of blog posts about our amazing board members and how they became involved with the sanctuary.
We currently have ten board members and are looking to fill a few open seats. This post is about our outgoing Board President David Brotherton.
David learned about the sanctuary through a long-standing board member, Bruce Wagman. David and Bruce share a love of live music and, though they live in different states, often attend shows together.
David first met the chimpanzees more than three years ago. His introduction to the group involved Jody spitting quite a bit of water on him. This baptism left him with the distinct impression that the chimps were not there to entertain, but were giving him the choice to either help out or get out. He chose to help.
David brings to the board a wealth of strategic communications experience as the founder and director of Brotherton Strategies, a Seattle-based consulting firm that works with a wide mix of grant making foundations and socially minded corporate clients. Before getting involved in public relations, marketing and brand strategy, he worked in Washington D.C. as a congressional speech writer and political reporter. Perhaps we should have him report on the politics of the Cle Elum Seven!
David has a passion for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and is eager to see the organization thrive long into the future with a firm strategic plan in place. He gushes about the amazing supporters of the sanctuary and describes the organization as unlike any other that he’s known or supported.
He recently served one term as the Board President and is now helping Kimber Leblicq transition into that role. His tenure as president spanned an important period in the sanctuary’s history. David helped guide us through the Taylor Bridge Fire (and not just in a governance role – he brought tortilla chips and beer to the staff and volunteers the day after the fire and allowed us a few moments of relaxation and laughter). He then oversaw the search to hire our no-longer-new Executive Director Jennifer Whitaker.
With the support of one of his clients, Provitro Biosciences (formerly known as Booshoot), David also introduced the chimps to the bamboo now flourishing on Young’s Hill, which the chimpanzees have been loving ever since. Now that I think about all he has done these past few years, I realize that I actually owe him a beer!
Feel free to leave a comment for David below this post.
Apes (humans included) all have the same dentition pattern, which is a fancy way of saying we have the same number of teeth, and in the same order, across the board. We also have baby teeth, or “milk teeth,” that we loose when the adult teeth come in.
One difference between our dentition is that though non-human apes have canines in the same place as humans, their canines are much larger than ours. What we know about diet probably doesn’t explain why they would have almost carnivore-sized canines. All apes eat mostly fruit, leaves, and other plant items as well as the occasional small mammal meat in the case of chimps. Still, even that small amount of meat wouldn’t be the reason for why non-human apes have such large canines.
What other purpose can teeth serve if not to chew up food? Threat. Certainly large canines are quite intimidating, and can serve as a warning to enemies to stay back, or else you could get bit and boy—it’ll hurt!
In these photos you’ll see the large canines I’m referring to—the chimps are only yawning, but you can see just how intimidating their teeth can be. Just another reason why chimpanzees do not make good pets!
Recently we posted about Burrito’s love of food. It is true that Burrito brings a certain enthusiasm to each meal but I would say that this is just as true of many of the activities that Burrito engages in. Burrito brings a level of energy and vivacity to play as much as, if not more so than, he does to the dinner table.
It was a quiet afternoon here at the sanctuary and a few caregivers spent quality time enriching the lives of the chimpanzees as creatively as they could manage. In this video you’ll see me playing with Burrito and may notice I have a fairly distinct tendency to employ “mirroring” behaviors. Mirroring, mimicking your social partner in language and behavior, often occurs subconsciously during interactions. The next time you’re interacting with someone see if you can catch yourself in a mirroring moment. I find it can be fascinating to observe! Also, it seems to work out pretty well when entertaining chimpanzee friends.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching the chimpanzees eat. They chew as if no one is watching.
Today was sponsored for the chimpanzees by Julie Sweet. Julie shared the following:
“Today is my birthday and one of the best gifts I’ve received is the chance to visit the chimps. Thanks so much to the staff and volunteers for all of your hard work caring for the chimps. You are an inspiration!”
Julie, what a lovely gift to give on your own birthday! Thank you so much for caring about the chimps and giving them a special day. We hope your own celebration is full of Burrito style pant hoots and food squeaks!