Hopefully you’ve watched the video (several times) of the chimps’ holiday party yesterday – it was a pretty amazing day for all of the chimpanzees and the humans who were here to celebrate with them.
The chimps’ friends really know what makes for a great party! A good 98% of the decorations, food, gifts, and blankets were donated from friends near and far.
I thought it would be fun to share some of the still photos from yesterday to deconstruct the party a bit and tell you more about the day.
The first thing to deconstruct is the party food. We are pretty strict about the chimps’ diet. The vast majority of what the chimps eat is fresh produce, supplemented with nuts, seeds, and a small amount of commercially-made “primate chow.” We do not give them food that has added sugar or salt, and we give them very little processed food other than the primate chow. We want the chimpanzees here to be as healthy as possible, so we see their diet as preventative health care.
A few times a year, for special occasions, we bend the rules just a little bit, though you still won’t see the chimps here eating candy. As you can tell from the food squeaks, they are pretty pleased with what we offer.
One thing that dawned on me when we had the Jungle Solstice party last week is that a big part of the chimps’ excitement is not necessarily what the food is, but the fact that we bring out plates for parties. It seems like such a small thing, but I think they have realized that paper plates = party, so and they get excited even if the food on the plates is what they would normally be served on a random day.
Their Christmas plates this year had baked potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cut-up fresh pomegranate:
For the bending-the-rules food, we also included slices of Field Roast’s Celebration Roast:
The champagne flutes (another “hey, it’s a party” signal) were filled with slightly watered down non-alcoholic sparkling cranberry cider (no sugar added):
Kelsi made the drinks extra fancy by adding a few pomegranate arils to each glass:
The other breaking-the-rules food that’s become a tradition for the holiday party is dinner rolls. Many of the chimpanzees go straight for the rolls, leaving some of the other food on the plate as seconds. That’s what sneaky Missy was “stealing” in the video from yesterday:
Negra is possibly the biggest fan of bread that I know, so she is always pleased to have this extra special treat. Knowing that, some cut up dinner roll pieces were placed in one of her favorite spots up on the catwalk:
The prize pineapple top that you saw Jody with in the video was a leftover from their breakfast. Jody made sure it was okay with Jamie before she took it upstairs to eat in private:
So, what about the presents?! Well, the trick with presents for most chimpanzees is to hide a bit of food in them. So, most of the bags and little boxes you saw had a nut or some other small not-breaking-the-rules food.
That’s not to say that the chimpanzees don’t appreciate new non-food objects, it’s just that food tends to be more universally exciting.
Jamie was very pleased to get two new pairs of boots yesterday, in addition to several books:
And Foxie got so many new dolls that I lost count. I don’t have a good photo of her with a new doll – suffice it to say that she was very happy with all of them! She handed me a new Strawberry Shortcake doll first thing this morning and then did some playful spins.
Today, the chimpanzees are resting up after the big celebration. Here’s Jamie, sound asleep, using her new boots as a pillow, with one of her favorite new books by her side:
The humans had a lot of clean up to do this morning after that extravaganza, which we did quite happily!
And Katelyn is busy in the office preparing thank you notes for all of the generous friends of the chimpanzees. Luckily part-time office cat LouLou is honing her computer skills to lend Katelyn a hand.
So, if you get an email that says, “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?????????????????????” from Katelyn, you’ll know why.
Thank you to everyone who made yesterday, today, and all of the days of 2017 so very wonderful for all of the primates at the sanctuary!