Missy really brings out Negra’s playful side. She slows things down a little when she plays with Negra in comparison to Annie or Foxie who are more active than the Queen, so this play session is a little different than what you’re used to seeing when we post video of the chimps wrestling. Still, even without the tumbling and running, Negra is able to throw in a (playful) punch and a few bites, too. 🙂
Archives for September 2014
I’ve recently been asked about how we receive kisses from the chimpanzees. The simple answer is that the chimpanzees extend their lips through the wire caging toward us and we put the back of our hand up towards their lips. But, words can only describe so much; pictures actually show it. So, today I tried to capture that through photos, but none of the chimps offered kisses to me (perhaps because I had the camera in hand?). So, I had to resort to the next best way of showing how the chimpanzees extend their prehensile lips towards us to give us a kiss. Meal time is the perfect opportunity to capture the chimpanzees extending their lips through the wire caging.
In the following photos, volunteer caregiver Becca served breakfast to the chimps this morning. On the menu were red pears and oranges, along with a watermelon, banana and protein powder smoothie. Each of the chimpanzees are also given fiber pills and vitamins every morning. You will notice in the following pictures that Becca’s fingers never penetrate the caging. For safety reasons, we consider the caging to be a barrier between our space and that of the chimpanzees, therefore we never stick our fingers into the enclosures.
Jamie has a mind that never sleeps. We do our best to keep her occupied and enriched, but sometimes she has to take matters into her own hands. It’s not unusual to find Jamie working on a project of her own making – anything from stuffing socks into a hollow tube, to pouring liquid back and forth from one container to another, to tying knots in scarves. (She even participated in routine fecal sample collection once.)
Interestingly, Jamie often prefers that these activities are done in privacy. As soon as she notices a caregiver watching – or even worse, trying to film or take photos – she stops what she’s doing. This morning I caught her using the wooden blocks in the photo below to hammer the red plastic stick into the floor of the playroom. Even though I knew I was pushing my luck, I grabbed the camera in hopes that I might get a video for the blog, but not surprisingly, the game was over as soon as she spotted me.
Speaking of keeping the chimps enriched, we posted the photo below to our Facebook page this morning and asked everyone to guess whose feet are socked up so stylishly. The answer is Missy! Missy and Jody both love to wear socks (and in fact these particular socks were sent to Jody by her Pal Sandy Nelson), but typically it’s only one at a time. Missy loves to pull on a sock (or two) when she’s feeling a little playful. (If you’re wondering why we’re okay posting photos of Missy wearing socks while we advocate against the use of chimpanzee “performers” wearing clothes in movies and on TV, please visit this page.)
Jamie is never one to shy away from adventure. If you are one of Jamie’s Chimpanzee Pals, you received an email from Katelyn yesterday with an update on some of her summer antics. One notable antic is Jamie’s frequent decision during the summer to stay out on the hill post-dinner, past the time we usually close it up for the night.
All of the staff have been staying late here and there to join Jamie on her post-dinner walks until she decides it’s time to go to bed, which is usually long after the other chimpanzees have bedded (nested?) down for the night.
Because J.B. and I live on the property, we often relieve the other staff at a certain point and take over so they can go home. This is what happened a few days ago. Katelyn had stayed a little over an hour beyond her designated shift, and I came up to the chimp house to watch over things.
Jamie immediately wanted to go on a walk, with me wearing her latest favorite black cowboy boot.
Sometimes Jamie’s walks seem goal-oriented and efficient: patrol the fence line and return to the greenhouse; but her late evening walks tend to be more exploratory, and she meanders off the path of the fence. Such was her mood the other night.
She got to the top of the hill and decided to jump up on one of the log bridges:
And walk to the end of the log:
Then sit on the other end:
And look into the distance:
Do a little self-grooming:
And sit some more, contentedly (I love a content Jamie!):
Then, she was ready to continue the patrol around the hill. When we got to the South side of the building, we discovered two of the neighbor’s cattle close by:
Jamie went into “defend the property mode”:
Which worked quite well:
Then it was back to the chimp house, and on to the next adventure, like foraging for lunch today:
It’s still difficult to fathom that this adventuresome, headstrong, curious and extremely intelligent chimpanzee lived for so long the way she did in her previous life as an entertainer and biomedical laboratory research subject, but she certainly knows how to make up for lost time, and we couldn’t be happier to watch her do it.
One of our primary goals here at the sanctuary is to allow and encourage the chimpanzees to act like chimpanzees, in as many ways as possible. A big part of being a chimp is being around other chimps – something that many lab chimps are denied. As much as we caregivers love playing, grooming, and just hanging out with our chimp friends (and we’re always there for them if they want our company), we always prefer to see them enjoying the company of other chimps.
Some chimps, like Missy, tend to prefer chimp company over human company, while others, like Burrito, usually seek out humans to play with. So it’s especially rewarding to see a guy like Burrito just be a chimp with other chimps.
We are having a warm, overcast end-of-summer day today and while the chimpanzees and humans are loving the perfect temperatures, everyone seems to be feeling on the snoozy side this afternoon. The chimpanzees spent a lot of time out on Young’s Hill today and shortly after everyone finished exploring I went to look in the playroom to see what they were up to. But everyone seemed to be squirreled away in their nests along the catwalks in the playroom, out of camera range.
So I went out to the greenhouse and heard nothing but the breeze rustling the bamboo. But just as I turned to leave, I heard a slight play thump and I looked up on the very top tier and spotted this sweet guy:
With all the ladies resting indoors, Burrito appeared to be enjoying a peaceful napping spot while soaking up the warmth of the sun coming through the top tier of the greenhouse.