Humans, like chimpanzees, are very visually oriented. I think one of the most powerful ways we can show people how important sanctuary is, is by showing the “before and after” comparisons.
After decades in research, the chimps looked like ghosts of themselves. For some of them, coming to CSNW was the first time they’d ever been outside and felt fresh air and sunshine.
In just a few months, we saw dramatic changes in their appearance. Their hair and skin darkened and they began to look (and I imagine, feel) much more healthy. As our sixth anniversary approaches (next week!) I like to look back and see how far they’ve come in six years of sanctuary.
Yesterday’s post of Burrito looking especially handsome reminded me of that same spot we took many of the “before” photos in. There’s a window right by that bench, so for their first few days here, they would sit and look out the window at the surroundings of their new home. I can’t imagine what they must have been thinking—the fear of the unknown. We know that now they have nothing to be afraid of, and everything to look forward to.
I love showing people those first photos of the chimps compared to them now out on Young’s Hill, surrounded by beautiful grass, with the sun on their backs and the view of the valley below. This time, however, I want to show a more direct comparison—the chimps sitting in the same exact spot as they did the first couple days they were here. Most if not all of the “after” photos have been posted before on the blog, but I thought it’d be nice to see them all together.
We haven’t gotten a portrait of Missy in the same spot as the others, perhaps because she is always on the move. 🙂