The chimps still love their newest structure! Today it was the first thing they investigated during their early morning excursion and Jamie has been taking breaks on her perimeter walks to climb and sit on it. Here’s a video from Sunday of their very first outing on the structure after they patiently waited for our amazing volunteers to finish up construction.
Archives for April 2018
Spring is in full swing at the sanctuary! Old friends returned from the long winter and we’ve seen the first butterflies, bees, and even our friend, Ellie, the neighborhood elk is back from her roaming. The air is literally humming with bird flight and birdsong and buds and flowers are finally unfurling under a bluebird sky and warming sun. We’re suddenly supposed to see temperatures in the upper 70’s, near 80 by week’s end. Also springing up over the weekend was the chimpanzees’ brand new play structure on Young’s Hill!
The new structure was funded by donations from HOOT! 2017 from Pat Cattolico, Meg Lunnum, and Richard and Lisa Stuverud, who donated during the event at the Care Corner towards a “new small structure” – J.B. maybe has a different idea of “small” than most people!
With plans and materials in hand, we had an incredible group of volunteers spend their weekend to help J.B. execute his plans. After a great crew on Saturday to include Andy, Drew, John and Ray, we were fortunate to have another amazing bunch to finish things up on Sunday, which included chimp house student volunteers, Caroline, Ruth and Blanca, and members of our local community, Natalie, Greg and the Habitat for Humanity crew! If you saw the Sponsor-a-Day post earlier today you had a glimpse of the building in progress, but here’s a few more perspectives of the process:
Even pine trees and raspberries were planted on the hill (we’ll see if they survive Jody’s adventurous eating habits!).
So with today being our ninth annual honorary “Love a Chimpanzee Day” (thanks to long-time friend of the chimps’, Monica Best), naturally, the only thing left to do was throw a big party! We had a breakfast forage on the structure and the chimps’ had an amazing mix of fresh jackfruit (!), oranges, tomatoes, watermelon, banana, grapes, primate chow, and the cherry on top? One whole fresh coconut placed at the very top of the structure.
When I opened the door to the hill the entire family headed out together with Negra leading the way out of the raceway! While everyone else headed straight for the structure, Negra made a stop at her cabin first to check for treats:
Missy was first up!
Everyone quickly made their way to the top. Here’s Jamie:
Missy with a beloved WHOLE tomato!
Either no one immediately noticed the coconut at the top, or everyone was just played it cool until they saw an opportunity to grab it without attracting the attention of the others. Jody walking right on by (for now):
Foxie and Dora:
Missy and Jamie:
Even Negra made it up the first couple of levels:
Jody and Foxie:
And it was Jody who veeery carefully snatched that coconut! Somehow she kept it together all during the forage, acting nonchalant while keeping an eye on boss lady, Jamie (who being the boss, per chimp society, has the right to claim that coconut from anyone). Once Jody made it back to the greenhouse she could no longer contain her excitement and stopped to give us all a bouncy greeting and then sit with her spoils while making her classic “dinosaur” noises (low moans, Jody style). But she ended up leaving the coconut behind to head back out for more of the forage and who do you think was sooo happy to find that coconut unguarded??…
Burrito!! In the end, Jamie did wind up with it, but by day’s end everyone got to share in a second coconut.
To be honest, we have SO many photos of the construction of the structure, the chimps’ first moments checking it out last night and today, that these are the tip of the iceberg. There will be many more photos in the days to come.
To be able to continually improve the chimpanzees’ home with new and exciting forms of enrichment, to make each year of their lives better than the last, to see so many individuals come together to support the chimps in so many different ways, it’s nothing short of a privilege and honor to witness and be part of. From our hearts, we thank all of you who made this possible for the chimps.
And oh! I almost forgot! What are we going to name this new climbing structure?! We are spinning some ideas around, but we welcome your suggestions for possible names!
It’s that time of year again! The official-unofficial holiday, “Love a Chimpanzee Day”! Long-time supporter and friend of the sanctuary, Monica Best, crowned April 23rd as Love a Chimpanzee Day nine years ago and she continues to sponsor this wonderful day each year in honor of: “My seven favorite chimps and all the wonderful staff, volunteers and donors who help care for them so they can have: Hope. Love. Home….SANCTUARY.” Monica shared this note about the celebration:
“LOVE A CHIMPANZEE DAY. A day to honor all chimpanzees, in sanctuaries, zoos, the wild and especially those waiting in labs to come home to find sanctuary. We will never forget you and we will never leave you behind. We won’t quit till every chimp; from research labs, the entertainment industry, backyard zoos and anywhere else they are mistreated and forbidden to live a life free of fear and pain, have found SANCTUARY.”
Monica, thank you for living life from your generous and compassionate heart. You play a big role in helping to ensure these chimps, and so many of our fellow animals, have the kind of lives they deserve and we’re so grateful for you being in the world. And thank you for making up this wonderful holiday! We can never have too much to celebrate when it comes to these seven amazing individuals!
In perfect timing, we get to share what’s been happening on the hill with you all today! The AMAZING new structure for the chimps built by staff and incredible volunteers was finished yesterday afternoon! We can’t wait to show you more and today’s celebration for a breakfast forage on the new structure is underway!
The finishing touches:
The first inspection!
Well today was full of anticipation! By 9 am J.B. and our amazing volunteers were out building this SPECTACULAR climbing structure and yes that word does have to be in all caps because it is that stunning. The structure has a little bit of everything for every chimp and these chimps could not wait to get out on Young’s Hill and check it out! However, the chimps could not go out on the Hill until it was done. They waited so patiently and found ways to stay busy! Jamie monitored the volunteers cleaning and the volunteers helping with the structure, Neggie napped in the nice and toasty Greenhouse, Burrito played chase, and Missy, Jody, Annie, & Foxie played some wild games! Jody was half pilo all day just from all the excitement, she was so excited she was even playing like crazy with Missy today. For not being able to go on the Hill most of the day these chimps were in great moods!
Jody a little pilo:
We really put our volunteers to work today:
Volunteer working hard:
The chimps loved the final product:
The chimpanzees spent their afternoon watching volunteers Andy, Ray, John, and Drew help J.B. construct a new play structure on the hill!
What do you think it’s going to look like?
There seems to be a lot of math involved:
Does this help?
You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what the final structure looks like!
Alex Purins sponsored today’s day of sanctuary for Sandra to wish her a happy birthday.
Diana and I recently had the pleasure of reading Phoenix Zones, a new book by a good friend of the sanctuary, Dr. Hope Ferdowsian. In it, Hope shares the lessons she’s learned about building strength and resilience throughout the course of her incredible career as a human rights physician and animal advocate. The book is filled with stories demonstrating how humans and other animals can recover from trauma and heal – a process known as the “Phoenix Effect” – if we attend to certain key principles such as love, dignity, justice, and respect for liberty. Phoenix Zones, by extension, are the places where these principles are put into practice, and where those suffering from trauma can rise from the proverbial ashes to find peace and hope.
One example of a Phoenix Zone that Hope discusses in her book is Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. Her story focuses on Negra, who was stolen from her family and endured 35 years of unimaginable suffering but now exemplifies the power of Phoenix Zones promote healing and resilience in even the most traumatized individuals.
It’s easy to forget just how far Negra has come. This morning, we found her enjoying sweet spring grass near the top of the hill, a place that she had feared not so long ago.
A key message of the book is that physical and emotional recovery are only possible when we are free to make our own choices, when we are able to live with dignity, and, perhaps most importantly, when we have a sense of hope. Negra’s story should inspire hope in all of us.
Diana and I will be joining Hope for a discussion of her book at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle on April 30th. If you live nearby, we hope to see you there!