Thankfully (because my brain is very, very tired at the end of this fine day), there are no words necessary for This. Handsome. Guy! Willy B!!
Archives for September 2019
Today was a chilly autumn Sunday. Many parts of the Inland Northwest received their first snowfall last night, and much of the Cascades was covered in a dusting of white powder. Down here in the canyon, the weather was damp and cool and the skies were gray.
The chimps were slow to perk up this morning and seemed a bit groggy, making me think that they might spend the whole day napping and grooming in the Playroom. I watched Burrito for a bit before breakfast; he had a difficult time keeping his eyes open as he sat on one of the benches, and it made me smile. He lazily rolled over and drifted off several times, only regaining his alertness each time he heard promising sounds from the kitchen. It felt oddly familiar.
Negra even stopped by to participate in a quick session of grooming, but Burrito only gave her a few minutes of attention before redirecting his gaze out the window and returning to his solitude.
Everything changed when we walked around the building to open the door to Young’s Hill. Burrito and the others immediately got excited. His sideburns stood on end and his demeanor changed completely.
Lately, the seasonal shift has not deterred the Seven from enjoying Young’s Hill. Instead, they seem to relish the outdoors even more now that the weather is gloomy and wet. After being here for over a decade, the Seven are true residents of the Pacific Northwest and seem to embrace the mild temperatures of spring and fall. As I recently overheard one Washingtonian say, “I’ll pass on snow and heat, but I’ll hike in the rain all day.”
In true Northwest fashion, the Seven set out into the wilderness of Young’s Hill. Burrito led the way.
We have been excited to let the chimps go outside for the past few days because we just completed a modest expansion of the Young’s Hill enclosure. J.B. led the extension of the electric fencing downhill so that the perimeter now links up to the end of the shiny new chute (and the recently-constructed wing that houses Willy B, Mave and Honey B). We will soon be updating our followers about the new three and their gradual introduction to the outdoors, but for now the Seven long-time residents are exploring the additional space and using it to get a better view of their new surroundings
Today, Missy and Burrito each spent some time in front of the steel gateway leading into the chute. Burrito displayed and Missy even attempted to open the hydraulic door to crawl inside. Both seemed to be eager to get inside the building and come face-to-face with their new neighbors. (Fortunately for us, the doors are sturdy and didn’t budge in either scenario.)
Back in the Chimp House, the new arrivals (“The Californians”?) spent most of the day playing and lounging but immediately peered out of their bedrooms each time that one of the seven walked by. Willy B seemed most interested in Jamie and her foraging skills, while Mave tried to pant at Burrito through the sealed window. Honey B was more focused on the caregivers and kept nodding at us and soliciting attention as we completed tasks nearby.
It’s always interesting to see how quickly chimpanzees can alter their mood, thereby exhibiting a completely different set of behaviors. It still amazes me to see all ten of them snoozing in various corners of the Chimp House then suddenly hear a thunderstorm of pant-hoots, drumming and screams resonating throughout the building.
Even as the mornings get colder and the chimps spend more time in their overnight nests, it’s reassuring to see that they can still make a little excitement for themselves on a gloomy autumn day.
As I’m writing this, the chimp house is very, very quiet. The most noticeable sound is the hum from the printer on the desk next to me – a sound that is downed out during the day when there is a bustle of activity on the part of the humans and often loud chimpanzee vocalizations coming from both wings of the building.
In this moment, all ten chimpanzees are deep asleep after a full day of exploration, eating, socializing, playing, and displaying.
Chimpanzees are masters at sleeping. Seeing a chimp either casually day-napping or deep into a night’s sleep makes me want to close my own eyes and drift into that other world of unconsciousness.
Burrito, Annie, Jody, Jamie, Negra, Foxie, and Missy have had (if I did the math correctly) 4,122 sleepful nights at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.
Willy B, Mave, and Honey B have only been here 41 days. I think this photo that Katelyn took recently is the only close-up we have of any of those three sleeping. Hopefully we will have many, many more days to capture and share images of their unique faces in peaceful slumber.
Goodnight from everyone at the sanctuary. Sleep well.
Honey B and Jamie seem to be the smarties. However, do not get me wrong everyone is extremely intelligent! There is a similar way in which Jamie and Honey B do certain things. I often wonder how the two will get along. I am curious in what their dynamic will be like. Honey B seems equally strong willed, curious, great with tools, and very resourceful. Sound like anyone you know? We have mentioned before that Jamie will sometimes scream when an item of food is valuable to her. This is in hopes it will cause the group to panic and drop the valuable food. Smart and resourceful right? We have observed Honey B using the same strategy in food situations as well. Honey B is great with tools and figures out the food puzzles fairly quickly. Honey B likes projects such as a bucket of soap and scrubbing. They both enjoy leeks or any onion form. And most importantly when you look into their eyes you can see the wheels turning. Honey B and Jamie, also as we might have mentioned before, remind many of us of Tatu, who lives at the Fauna Foundation. Tatu is another one of those smarties who is always planning and you can see it in her eyes.
Jamie, Honey B, and Tatu know how to remind you that just because you might be a human doesn’t mean you are smarter than them.
Another awesome similarity, we have watched Jamie make nest/forts with big enrichment items and we have seen Honey B do the same. Recently, there was a big play toy put in the Mezzanine. It got knock over and later on the spy camera we saw Honey B pulling the big toy toward her nest, having it surround her.
Example of one of Jamie’s forts:
This is the big toy Honey B incorporated in her nest:
I wanted to do a throwback today to a very special day at the sanctuary, the day the Cle Elum 7 got to go out on Young’s Hill for the very first time. Perhaps the best way to remember that day is to watch the KOMO News Story about the event. It’s amazing that the chimps first set foot on Young’s Hill in September 2011 (8 years ago!), because we hope that our new 3 residents will soon get to follow in their footsteps.
We are excited to announce that we are finishing up the final adjustments to Young’s Hill so that the outdoor chute that Honey B, Willy B and Mave currently occupy will now connect to the 2 acre outdoor enclosure. If all goes as planned, we are going to give the “new guys” access to the hill in the next couple of days and let them get this new experience under their belts before we start introductions of the 2 groups. It will be both exciting and a little scary, and perhaps exploration will come more naturally to some than others. We can’t wait for them to start enjoying this next part of their sanctuary!
Jamie had one goal today and it was to pry that howdy door wide open. As you will see in the video that is not the case. Though, we will be starting the long awaited introduction soon. Jamie decided today she did not want to wait anymore! Jamie started with a toy that was put out for them an the playroom. She began hammering at the door and eventually modified the toy (tool) into what seemed more helpful for Jamie. Tool modification is also a behavior seen in the wild. An infamous example for wild chimps modifying tools would be fishing for termites. The chimps take a twig, strip it clean, dip their tool in the termite mound, the termites grab on to twig, and violà! Termites on a stick! When we put out a food puzzle for example: pvc tube with peanut butter, we often offer a tool like a chop stick to help. That way it is the chimps choice in using their finger or finding a potentially quicker way for them to get the peanut butter. Some chimps may adjust their tool to better help them obtain their goal! Or maybe even a better example is when there is food outside of the caging. The chimps will find an item such as a tooth brush, piece of paper, or a tube that will be able to allow them to pull the food closed so they can reach it. Jamie will sometimes find a piece of cardboard and rip the cardboard until it is the perfect tool to grab the food.
Jamie is an amazing tool user. However, Jamie’s goals are usually a bit different. Jamie is fascinated by actual human tools and will modify toys or objects to help her in her “projects” like opening the howdy door.
Willy B’s wild side is out and we have proof! Willy loves slinkys as we may have talked about before, but today he took it to another level. He was wearing it around his ankle and kickin’ his legs, he was wrapping himself in it, and he was flipping upside and flinging the slinky around! If you don’t believe me just check the video out for yourself. If you weren’t smitten with Willy B enough, get ready to love him even more! We are so glad to have these 3 new additions at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and it is so fun to get to know Willy B, Honey B, & Mave more and more everyday.