What a day of celebrating beautiful, dear, sweet Annie! We decided to have the party on Young’s Hill, the chimps’ 2-acre outdoor habitat and it was complete with a chimp favorite, watermelon bowls filled with lettuce, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, onions, and cabbage, and a new treat of banana leaves filled with roasted sweet potatoes and onions and leftover watermelon, and beautiful organic sunflowers strewn about!
Aren’t these amazing?! They’re bigger than Kelsi! 🙂 We have the best volunteers who found a recipe for wrapping good stuff in squares of the leaves and another who found them in Seattle for us! Something completely new for the chimps!
Here’s the birthday lady opening her banana leaf packet:
Jody was actually first onto the hill and was very excited to make it back with two watermelon bowls! I caught her mid-blink – sorry Jo! – and food squeaking with delight:
Negra’s approach to the forage was to wait for Jody to bring her haul back to the greenhouse and promptly try to take it!:
Jody kindly let her have one. That said, when Jody came back later with another one she wasn’t so willing to give it up which the Queen wasn’t too happy about, though she did get what Jody couldn’t shovel in fast enough. Oh, Neggie:
Burrito found a bowl for himself and started to make his way back to the greenhouse food squeaking all the way. But he stopped short when he saw Jody and Negra near the raceway and decided to try and play it cool so as not to attract their attention (or probably more specifically, Negra’s). You can see how excited he is by his hair standing on end (pilo-erect):
Of course, he couldn’t wait too long before taking some bites:
Jamie’s tactic was to collect everything she wanted and put it in a good place to return to when she was ready:
Annie and Jody out for more:
And Foxie! She was way out on one of the structures by herself when she found a watermelon bowl.
Then…Oh. My. Heart! We could hear Foxie food squeaking with excitement when all of a sudden she just couldn’t contain herself! When chimpanzees are overwhelmed with excitement or fear they will often express a facial gesture known as a “fear grimace.” This is what Foxie is doing here, but she was SUPER excited. Usually others chimps are nearby and they reassure one another, but Foxie just kept looking at us from afar as if to say, “Do you see this??!! Watermelon bowls!!! I just can’t…” We love how excited the chimpanzees get over something as seemingly simple as fresh food. It never seems to get old for them and certainly seeing their joy never gets old for us.
Happy 44th, Annie! May all your days and years ahead be filled with more love, joy and adventure than you ever imagined. We love you so very much!