First, the photos that go along with the story in today’s blog are not going to win any awards. But the story is good, so I hope you’ll forgive my quick cell phone pics.
Second, if you are new to the sanctuary and the photos make you wonder why the chimps are in cages, please read this blog post that answers that very question!
Speaking of questions, I know there are SO MANY questions about how we are going to go about doing the introductions between the seven and the three. We still have a lot of questions ourselves that we have been mulling over. It’s daunting and scary and incredibly exciting all at the same time.
We’ve talked to a few different people who each have experience with hundreds (hundreds!) of introductions of chimpanzees, and each of them has a different general system they use and a philosophy behind it. On Tuesday, one of these very knowledgeable people, Amy Fultz from Chimp Haven, came out in person to talk to us about introductions. It worked out perfectly that she was here when the groups got the first good look at each other.
We are taking in all of this information and combining it with the data that Jake Funkouser recorded and analyzed of the social networks of the seven chimpanzees, and combining that with what we are observing of the new three and their interactions with the seven at a distance.
We also will let the chimpanzees dictate the process once we start. All that is to explain that we cannot share with you the step by step details before they happen because it’s not that kind of process and we are not there yet. We do plan to share details with you after the fact, though!
So, that brings me to today’s story about a connection/attraction between Willy B and Jody that is continuing to develop. It actually started before the three arrived at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. When J.B. and I were at Wildlife Waystation, we showed some videos of Jody to Willy B on my cell phone, and he immediately moved in to get a closer look, paying more attention to the Jody videos than videos of any of the other chimpanzees.
Now they get to see each other in person every day, and Willy B continues to show an interest in Jody. And now we can say that the interest is mutual.
This morning, Jody made a special foray onto the hill and stood up just to get a glimpse of Willy B who was at the end of the chute:
Willy B returned the glance:
When Jody was heading back into the greenhouse, Willy B climbed to the highest spot in the new chute to have the best view:
Jody noticed his new position, and climbed up high on the caging in the greenhouse and made a low moan vocalization. Jody is famous for her various low-moans, most of them associated with food, and all of them indicating that she is happy.
With Jody’s cute hand wave/reaching out that J.B. included in the video yesterday and today’s friendly overtures to Willy B, our predictions about Jody being inviting towards the newcomers seems spot-on, unlike our inaccurate predictions of how Burrito would react to the sight of unfamiliar chimpanzee people.
Burrito, by the way, continues to be obsessed with the new three and spends most his day hanging out by the windows just waiting for them to appear.
Can you imagine how strange and exciting it must be to see new chimpanzee strangers for the first time after over a dozen years?!