Today we’ve been lucky enough to have some mild temperatures and sunshine in Cle Elum. After lunch I headed out to the greenhouse, expecting to find most of the chimpanzees lounging out there (their favorite sunny day spot). I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find everyone except for Burrito and Negra outside on Young’s Hill, their two-acre outdoor habitat.
When it’s cold outside, the chimps would generally rather be indoors. The more determined among them might go out for very short periods, but as a rule, the chimps choose to spend most of the winter inside. On mild days, it’s not uncommon to find some activity on the hill – the chimps know that the nice temperatures won’t last long.
When I stepped outside this afternoon there was a large group of hawks circling over Young’s Hill.
I started thinking about how before Young’s Hill was built, the chimps had never had an unobstructed view of the sky before. Young’s Hill has expanded the chimps’ world in more ways than one. In addition to giving them more space to explore, it allows them to see more of their surroundings and to participate more in their environment.
Here’s Annie looking out over the valley adjacent to the sanctuary:
The chimps also have a clear line of sight to the driveway, so they can always check out who’s coming and going. Today Jody was very interested to watch volunteers Pam and T.J. arrive for their shift:
Missy, on the other hand, had no time to look around. She was fully focused on her acrobatic feats.