What an amazing day we’ve had here at the sanctuary! Everyone worked so hard to complete the chimpanzees’ new structure on Young’s Hill early and even had it ready in time for a chimpanzee inspection and lunch forage.
The chimps were SO excited as we opened the raceway to the hill, pant-hooting, food grunting, and hugging each other in excitement and reassurance. Everyone filed out and quickly made their way to the top of the hill to check things out. Surprisingly, Missy wasn’t the first person on the structure, but she wasn’t far behind Jody, Annie, and Jamie who led the way. And just to warn you, you may have to look a little harder to see the chimps in some of these photos, but we hope it gives you an idea of their new perspective on things!
The new structure is the highest on the hill at about 16 feet high and the chimps’ view is incredible! Annie was one of the first to go up and take it in. She looks so small!:
Annie looking below the tower:
Jody was fearless and explored the entire structure with confidence and her new found athletic skills (she is on the shaky bridge as Annie watches from the platform):
Burrito foraged in the gorgeous new bamboo below the structure initially:
But it wasn’t long before he joined Annie and Missy (walking on the hand railing, naturally) up top:
Jamie on the bridge:
As we’ve previously written on the blog, it wasn’t that long ago that Foxie wouldn’t have felt comfortable exploring this new structure right away. She initially foraged and assessed the situation from below with her troll. But it didn’t take her long to climb right up and explore:
Never one to take the easy way, Missy climbs one of the posts:
Those six small, black, specks on the structure are all of the chimps except Negra. This view is from the top of Young’s Hill looking toward the chimp house and the roof in the lower left hand corner is the barn:
It took a bit for Negra to decide to leave her comfy nest and venture onto the hill to see what all the excitement was about. Being the clever woman she is, she chose to enjoy the forage closer to the greenhouse, which really was pretty smart given that she had it to herself. This was one of the only sightings of the Queen as she disappeared in the tall grass and shade:
And you can probably guess who the speck of a fearless woman in the following photos is…Missy, of course, had to test out tightrope options. After all, why be boring and take the bridge between the towers when you can walk across on the fire hose? (Honestly, I think we all had to remind ourselves today that even though we shuddered seeing them so far off the ground, they were doing what chimps are meant to do!):
Her best friend, Annie, waiting to greet her at the other end:
If you look closely, that tiny looking chimp walking on the hand railing of the tower is the boss lady, Jamie:
Jamie takes in the view of her kingdom:
In two weeks time we will be celebrating not only Negra’s birthday (June 13th), but the chimpanzees’ 7th year in sanctuary. It’s hard to believe how far they’ve come since they arrived. The ghosts of themselves they arrived as, the fears, anxieties, and uncertainties they carried, are shadows of who they’ve become. Shadows that grower fainter by the day. We are profoundly thankful to all of you who have made this possible for the chimpanzees and can’t wait to share all that lies ahead with you.