First, I want to express our good wishes for all of our primate friends in Florida right now. We have been thinking about Save the Chimps, Center for Great Apes, and Jungle Friends since coverage of Hurricane Irma began. We know the humans at those sanctuaries have been working hard to prepare for the storm and rolling out their emergency preparedness plans in order to keep the non-human primates in their care safe. We’re so grateful for all that you do and know that you will update everyone when you can, just know you are in our thoughts.
Second, this is pretty difficult to believe, but we will be celebrating Annie’s 43rd birthday tomorrow!
We don’t know Annie’s actual date of birth, and, in fact, even the year could be wrong, but it’s important for us to celebrate the chimpanzees’ individual birthdays, even if the dates were chosen by us when they arrived. Be sure to check in tomorrow for the party recap!
And now, for the news of Jamie’s new hideout on the hill. It’s actually not new at all – it was one of the first features that we included on Young’s Hill.
We called it Missy’s Tunnel because we had a plastic culvert in the playroom that Missy liked to run through when she was playing chase with Annie, so we imagined that she would do the same with a culvert partially buried and covered over with dirt on the hill.
We haven’t seen much play in the tunnel, though I have seen Missy run through it a time or two.
This summer, Jamie decided to adopt the tunnel and has been using it quite regularly as a resting stop when she’s doing her perimeter walks around the hill.
First, she coaxes one of her caregivers to put on a pair of boots and “join” her on the walk, then, when she gets to the tunnel, she proceeds to just hang out in there for several minutes while her human subject is left standing and waiting on the other side of the fence.
When she’s good and ready, she emerges and resumes the walk.
Despite not having a tunnel on the human side of the fence, I’m finding this ritual rather relaxing myself just watching her.
And it has brought back memories. At my elementary school, we had concrete tunnels on the playground. They were great places to cool down away from the sun for a bit, gossip with a friend, or just have a voluntary timeout from whatever else was going on. Even though they were out in the open and everyone knew about them, being in one felt like I was in a secret hideaway.
I like to think that Jamie feels the same way about her newfound private place.