Jody has three nicknames that we frequently use when referring to her. “Jo” is the simplest and most common, but “JoJo” is the fun equivalent.
Every time I hear someone say the nickname Jojo, I think of two things. The first association is a song by Blind Pilot (a Portland-based folk band) that tells the story of a homeless man named Jojo. The song is called “The Story I Heard” and has a catchy melody that loops in my head whenever I see Jody’s kind, sweet face. It fits her perfectly.
The second thing that comes to mind, of course, is the Oscar-winning film Jojo Rabbit. (If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?) Jody, with her gentle demeanor and love of all things that grow, would make a very fine rabbit. In fact, Jody’s appropriate third nickname is “Farmer Jo” because of how eagerly she harvests food from the chimps’ outdoor habitat. Chimps are not strictly vegetarian by any means, but Jody would be quite happy if all we ever gave her were heaps of green vegetables to munch on.
That brings us to today’s holiday celebration: a feast and forage to celebrate Easter Sunday and the arrival of spring.
The day (which was lovingly sponsored by two amazing and generous supporters) began with the usual breakfast chaos and subsequent socialization. As Diana mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Foxie and Jody were just reunited with the group after receiving some medical attention and are getting back to their normal routines. Meanwhile, Jamie is dealing with a draining abscess but is otherwise acting like her usual self. She seemed to feel a bit better after Missy (“Dr. Missy”) gave her backside some much-needed grooming. After her appointment with Jamie, Missy proceeded to engage Burrito in a playful session of wrestling. Jamie “payed it forward” by giving Jody some T.L.C.
Meanwhile, CSNW co-directors J.B. and Diana spent some time planting this past holiday season’s evergreen trees. They were previously kept in pots after being featured in the Christmas Day celebration and are now taking root amid the bamboo on Young’s Hill. Maybe they’ll survive, and perhaps even grow, if Farmer Jo doesn’t prune off too many of their branches.
Back in the Greenhouse, the chimps could see us scattering food in their outdoor enclosure and got really excited.
Once all of the caregivers, vehicles and tools were safely out of the enclosure, we were finally able to let the chimpanzees go out and forage for their Easter lunch. Negra led the charge out of the Greenhouse and up the hillside, followed by her six companions. The chimps were ecstatic to find caches of carrots, beets, watermelon slices, chow biscuits, and brand new troll dolls.
Chimpanzees have a strong sense of fairness and, without interfering with their social hierarchy, we make sure there is enough food to go around at each meal. Even so, each celebratory forage usually has one chimp who “wins” by collecting the largest amount of the most prized item. As you all may have guessed by now, Jojo Rabbit won today’s Easter forage.
Farmer Jo decided immediately that carrots were the most valuable of all the foods. She sprinted past her companions and began filling her arms with the enormous orange carrots as if she was scooping up rolls of toilet paper at Fred Meyer. Before the others could even figure out what was hidden out there, Jody was making her way back to the Greenhouse with an armful of crunchy loot. The other chimps each found a carrot or two, but Jody had a whole bushel.
It’s hard to believe that Jody was the star of the show today after she just had a toe amputated last week. If my description doesn’t quite do it for you and you would prefer to watch today’s Easter forage for yourself, J.B. spontaneously streamed it live on our Facebook page so that all of our supporters could share the experience with us and the chimps. I highly recommend checking it out!
You may also be wondering how things went on the other side of the building. Mave, Willy B and Honey B had an exciting morning. For a short period of time, we opened the chute to their section of Young’s Hill so that they could have the opportunity to go outside. Per usual, they cautiously inspected their outdoor enclosure from the relative safety of the chute, although Honey B did roll a tire down the ramp and out onto the grass. She has developed a weird habit of noisily throwing large enrichment items through doorways, but that’s a story for another day…
Once the chute was closed back up, the three chimps enjoyed a hearty lunch and delicious dinner coupled with quick sessions of positive reinforcement training that allowed caregiver Chad to record their temperatures. It also marked the first time that they appeared interested in eating hard-boiled eggs (collected from locally-raised chickens, of course). Honey B and Willy B are now Easter eggs fanatics, although Mave doesn’t buy into the hype just yet.
Jody may have won the day, but Jamie won the evening. It’s currently after 8pm and Jamie just finished scouring Young’s Hill for the remaining produce. Just a half hour ago, she found a whole beet that was still hidden in the foliage. She finally allowed us to close the door and is settling in for a good night’s sleep, so I’m closing up the Chimp House and heading home.
Whether you celebrated today’s holiday or not, we hope that you had a great day. Stay healthy, everyone!