We just wanted to take a moment to say how grateful we are for the support you have shown us.
In the chimp sanctuary world, we tend to have two different types of conversations. With our colleagues, we are blunt and direct. We talk about illness, conflict, injury, and death, and the constant challenge of caring for powerful animals with the capacity for intense physical violence. We speak freely about these things because we’ve all experienced them directly and come to terms with them as best we can. With those outside of our profession, however, we are more guarded. Whether it’s to protect the image of chimpanzees or that of our own sanctuaries, we have a tendency to gloss over some of the less cheerful aspects of our work. In a way, it’s only natural to want to share more of the things you are most proud of, but there’s also a constant concern that events will be misinterpreted. And if I’m being honest, it’s a bit calculated as well. We are nonprofits, after all, and we rely on your approval (in the form of donations) to do our work.
Over the years, we’ve tried, with varying degrees of success, to be more honest with our supporters. Sometimes we don’t really have a choice – once you get to know Foxie through our more cheerful blog posts, you are probably going to wonder where her ear went, and that would be a difficult subject to avoid for any length of time. The same is true of Burrito and Honey B’s ordeal, as well as the larger fate of our integration efforts. But we’ve also found our supporters to be both understanding and appreciative of increased transparency, even when the news is uncomfortable or upsetting. And at times like this, you are also a great source of comfort for the staff and volunteers that have worked so hard and worried so long only to have their hearts broken.
Your ultimate concern, I know, is for the chimps, so let me give you a quick update. Burrito is still isolated in Front Room 1. He has been quite groggy, swinging from anesthesia hangover to narcotic haze, but he is making progress and beginning to eat more regularly. The girls spent the first day watching him closely and occasionally spitting on him through the door to try to wake him up. When he finally got up, they greeted him enthusiastically, as you can see in the video above. Every few hours, he heads over to the mesh to be groomed by them. But he will need much more time to heal before he can be with them – their drama is difficult enough to deal with when you are at the top of your game.
Honey B spent a couple days in Front Room 7 in the new wing to recover, with Willy B and Mave on the other side of the mesh. She likes to show us her injuries, even those as small as a paper cut, and she seemed very proud of her own progress. We agreed, so much so that she was reunited with Willy B and Mave this evening.
It’s a challenge to care for chimps, and there’s no way to hide that fact. Thanks again for being there for us during the more difficult moments.