Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is a pretty small operation. On any given day, there are one or two staff members working in the chimp house (one of the two staff members is designated the Lead Caregiver for the day; this is the person who operates doors, unlocks enclosures, posts to the blog, and generally calls the shots for the day), along with a couple of volunteers usually, and maybe a couple more staff members working in the office in the house on the sanctuary property. Occasionally someone’s out sick or we don’t have any volunteers scheduled, so there are just two of us to run the chimp house for the day. Considering how high-maintenance — and messy — these chimps can be, it’s quite a job for two people.
The first four or five hours of the day are spent scrubbing the chimp house top to bottom, with periodic breaks for walks around Young’s Hill with Jamie at her frequent request. After cleaning is wrapped up, the chimps have lunch, and this is usually when the Lead Caregiver starts thinking about what to post to the blog. Sometimes we’ll have captured photos or video of a great play session or some interesting behavior earlier in the day that we can’t wait to share, in which case we just sit down at the computer and get started. But sometimes the morning has been so busy that we don’t have time to think about the blog until early afternoon. In that case, we grab a camera and take a stroll around the chimp house to see if the chimps are doing anything interesting. When we write our blog posts, our goal is to share a story about something that happened during the day, or to share new information about one of the chimpanzees, or to share general information about chimp behavior. Sometimes after walking around with the camera for awhile you end up with a handful of decent but unrelated photos and then wonder how you’re going to make an engaging blog post out of them, or what you can write that hasn’t already been written a dozen times over the last eight years. It can sometimes be a little stressful when it’s already 2:30 and the chimps want your attention, and enrichment still has to be prepared, and dinner has to be made, and you have no idea what you’re going to post to the blog.
Today we were a little short-staffed in the chimp house. Staff caregiver Keri is out of town, so it was just me and volunteer caregiver-in-training Yuri getting things done this morning. By the time I had a moment to grab the camera and see what I could capture, most of the chimps had settled down for their post-lunch naps in nice, private places.
I was able to get a handful of decent photos…
…but I couldn’t think how I was going to tie them together into a blog post worth your time. While I was ruminating, Burrito was insistent that we should be playing tug of war. I was running out of time to think of something for the blog, but in the end I decided to put down the camera and play with Burrito. I knew you guys would understand.