We run a pretty tight ship in the chimp house. Given the decades of uncertainty, fear, and stress that the chimps faced, it’s important for them to have a routine in which they can trust and know what to expect and when things will occur. And there’s a lot for the humans to get done each day to keep the chimps’ healthy, engaged and happy, as well as to keep their home clean, safe and comfortable. Of course, within that routine we add as much variety as possible to their days in the form of enrichment, activities, food, interactions, etc. But despite the best laid plans, each day in the chimp house can be unique unto itself due to the chimpanzees’ choices and needs for the day, staffing and volunteer changes, unexpected circumstances, and a myriad of other reasons.
Take today for example, we started out cleaning the chimp house like any other morning only to end up relocating a mouse mama and her newborn babies, spending a good half hour (successfully!) catching and releasing a hummingbird, and then ushering out a snake and a Swallowtail butterfly by the time things were done. If you’re new to the blog, chimpanzees are very territorial and completely unwelcoming of guests in their home so the chimp house is no place for other creatures and we do our best to rescue anyone whose made a poor choice to make a chimp house call.
Here’s Missy taking a break from chasing Annie to check on our progress in the greenhouse so the chimps can go in for breakfast:
And in between all the tasks of the day Anna and I took turns walking with Jamie under bright blue skies and in a blazing 95 degrees. Now Jamie often enjoys taking her time on these walks and we don’t blame her. She likes to spend time under the crow’s nest on the Twister structure to check on the neighborhood happenings. Please note the boss lady also enjoys sitting under the crow’s nest for the lovely shade it provides. The caregivers who walk with Jamie, however, have no such luck. So during this particular walk, I sat down and waited for her to decide it was time to move on…
and waited. But don’t be fooled into thinking Jamie is so busy she’s unaware of us or where she left us off. (And if you’re wondering, yes, she gets upset if we decide to take the initiative to leave or go in another direction on our own!). So as it became clear that Jamie was going to be awhile, and with black cowboy boots blazing on my feet like the fire of a thousand burning suns, I thought I might as well make myself a little more comfortable and take them off while Jamie did her thing. Oh, I could not have been more wrong. Jamie immediately turned to me and gestured with her hand to put them back on. So you see, Jamie also runs a tight ship.
Meanwhile back in the chimp house, after playroom cleaning was done we added a new addition of a personalized photo blanket for Negra that one of her wonderful pals sent to her. Foxie was the first to check it out (notice her hand on Negra’s photo):
And here’s Negra making a nest with her new blanket:
The chimps then enjoyed a lunch forage on Young’s Hill (including fresh watermelon and cabbage donated by a guest). And in other news, Annie continues to sport the blue ’80’s style sweatband that she made a bold fashion choice with yesterday. Missy even pulled it off of her during a play session, but Annie put it right back on. (I can’t tell you how this makes my heart smile!):
Later in the afternoon, I found good friends, Burrito, Foxie (and Dora), feeling snoozy in the warm greenhouse and enjoying the summer breeze:
After a small afternoon snack of green beans and cherry tomatoes straight from the garden, the chimps gathered for dinner in the greenhouse which included fresh sweet potatoes donated by our amazing friends at Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. (L to R): Missy, Burrito, Foxie’s ear :), and Jamie:
After the chimps are served dinner, they receive their beloved night bags (if you’re unfamiliar with these, they are small bags of dried fruit, nuts and seeds that the chimps receive each evening). Here’s Jody enjoying hers in one of her classic relaxed poses:
As I finish up this post, the chimps have received their evening food puzzle of frozen banana and peanut butter in PVC tubes and are tucked into their nests for the night in the cool chimp house. Some of the doors are still open and a finally cooling evening breeze is drifting in, and all is perfectly still and quiet. Except that is, for the boss lady, Jamie. A boss’s job is never done. And in this case neither are her caregivers’. At least until she decides otherwise. So now we’re off to look for those cowboy boots which, of course, are made for walking. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.