When the chimpanzees first arrived at CSNW six and a half years ago, they were frail, weak, almost sickly ghosts of themselves. Through the years we have seen their once physically and mentally deprived selves transform into thriving, healthy, and fit chimpanzees full of personality.
The other day Jamie was sitting on a step in one of the front rooms and it struck me how strong her thigh muscles have become from her daily perimeter walks. It’s really very impressive!
She’s really come a long way. These photos from the first days in sanctuary really highlight her fragile, atrophied leg muscles.
In this photo you can see not only how scrawny and skinny her legs look, but also how much she plucked her hair from her belly while in the lab, likely due to sheer boredom:
Sanctuary has provided Jamie the opportunity to patrol her territory, stretch her legs, and keep her mind active. Her life now is full of so much enrichment—both for mental stimulation and physical activity—that she doesn’t get as bored as she used to.
Of course, captivity is not perfect and Jamie still does pluck her belly every now and then, perhaps because it became a habit but also possibly due to periods of boredom. No matter how great we make her environment, we can never recreate the life she and all captive chimpanzees should have had in the wild. But for Jamie, the next best thing is taking walks around Young’s Hill while her caregivers follow along on the other side of the fence—always with at least one of her favorite boots, of course!