It was another laid-back Sunday, aided by cooperative chimpanzees and incredible personnel.
We haven’t been doing any complicated projects or maneuvers on Sundays, giving our staff and chimpanzees time to focus on maintenance and recuperation before diving into the upcoming week. Today’s most exciting moments didn’t rival the excitement of Jamieween or the tension and chaos of an integration event. Even on our calmest of days, however, we still have to maintain and operate an intricate facility in order to manage multiple groups of chimpanzees with complex needs and preferences. Getting through each day requires a lot of teamwork, focus, and commitment among the humans.
Today, our staff had stellar assistance from two dedicated volunteers and two excellent interns. They carved and baked pumpkins, conducted safety checks, scrubbed floors, observed chimps, folded blankets, dehydrated fruit, and prepared enrichment for the chimps. (Thank you for your help, Courtney, Dusty, Katie and Rose!)
We also had two students undergo their first orientation so that they can begin helping us this winter. (Welcome to CSNW, Riley and Ashton!) With all the changes that have occurred over the last few months, we are beyond thrilled with how helpful and adaptable our volunteers and interns have been. It’s not an understatement to say that they are an integral part of the team.
As the humans worked hard to clean and provide care, the chimpanzees did chimpanzee things in the chimpanzee areas. Spaces such as the Playroom and Greenhouse don’t resemble an African jungle, superficially, but they serve a critical purpose; the interconnected enclosures provide a functional environment in which the chimps can engage in species-typical behaviors. At one point this morning, Willy B and Burrito proved that they can make a formidable duo when throwing enrichment objects across the open spaces in the Playroom. The explosive display provoked a boisterous response from the females on the other side of the wall. After lunch, however, the Chimp House was remarkably quiet and peaceful as the chimpanzees channeled their energy into positive social interactions.
Honey B and Mave continued to forge new friendships with Negra, while Willy B and Burrito kept lounging, eating and grooming together. The Girl Gang (composed of Annie, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, and Missy) spent the day socializing with each other, pant-grunting at the boys through the Playroom windows, and exploring Young’s Hill. I’ve included some snapshots of today’s activities at the bottom of this post.
We’re preparing to facilitate more meetings between chimps this week as we continue the gradual integration of the two social groups. It’s going to be an exciting week, so we’re appreciating the serenity and comfort of a lazy Sunday afternoon.
P.S. If you haven’t seen the news yet, there has been a critical setback in the effort to transfer the remaining populations of retired chimpanzees from biomedical facilities. Although it does not directly affect our future plans here at CSNW at this point in time, there is now a very real possibility that 44 chimpanzees will not be transferred to permanent sanctuary at Chimp Haven in Louisiana. I recommend the following articles to any of our followers and supporters who want to read further about the issue and be informed advocates for captive chimpanzees:
October 30 – Opinion – LA Times