Okay, so it isn’t Episode IV. It’s not actually the fourth in a series of anything. Furthermore, the soap isn’t even new soap.
However, this blog post is something like an episode and it does indeed contain soap, so there’s all that to consider. I think my stupid pun works for the title, and I would appreciate it if nobody complains. Keep your eye-rolls to yourselves.
Today, the chimpanzees were particular about whether or not they wanted to shift out of enclosures. Shifting is a necessary step that allows us to safely clean the areas and resupply the chimps with enrichment materials, but we sometimes need to work around the decisions that the chimps make. After all, we can’t make them leave an area if they don’t want to. This morning, everyone was out of step- especially with Jody recuperating in Front Room 1 after yesterday’s procedure, sweltering outdoor temperatures and the construction crew hammering away outside of the new wing.
[Note: Jody recovered quickly, as she usually does, and was eager to socialize with her friends through the mesh today! She spent the day eating, watching movies and lounging in front of the fan.]
Because Willy B., Mave and Honey B. were reluctant to leave the chute this morning, we had to clean their indoor rooms in an unusual order. The three chimpanzees still had access to Front Room 5 as we cleaned Front Rooms 6 and 7 right in front of them. Honey B. isn’t one to be left out, so we created a cleaning station for her that, unlike the tool sets that the humans use, was durable and safe enough to be given as enrichment. The kit consisted of a sandbox filled with soapy water, various brushes, and a couple of towels. We are aware that Honey B. has an affinity for cleaning, so this setup is far from novel. Still, it kept her busy while we completed the daily chores.
Honey B. seemed to have a blast, although Willy B. and Mave were mostly indifferent. Mave preferred to lounge in the corner with a plastic toy and Willy B kept trying to see his reflection in the camera lens. These three chimps are a great example of how the efficacy of enrichment items varies among chimpanzees, especially those with different backgrounds and personalities.