Well, maybe it’s not that hot.
Today’s temperature is actually only a few degrees above Cle Elum’s average for July, and we’ve had much hotter days recently with even more blistering heat ahead. Still, there was something about today’s weather that slowed everyone down by half and made the shady indoor areas feel twice as good.
The chimps spent most of the day alternating among the preferred indoor nesting spots in what seemed to be an odd game of “musical chimps.” The only exceptions were Jamie and Burrito, who made their caregivers playfully chase them for a few minutes at a time. Even they seemed a bit more subdued than usual, though, and each found some creative spots to hunker down for a prolonged afternoon siesta.
To make the chimps’ midsummer naps even sweeter, the staff set up the shiny new electric fans that were kindly donated via our Wish List. These fans may seem trivial, but they’re helping us to keep the chimps healthy. Although the data are still thankfully deficient, it seems likely that captive and free-living chimpanzees are susceptible to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. As we’ve mentioned on the blog, the sanctuary has been closed off from visitors and most volunteers and the essential personnel have been limiting their social interactions while wearing extra personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, scrubs, etc) around the chimps. We’ve also been trying to keep the building well-ventilated to help disperse any respiratory particles that we exhale, but it’s tough to keep such a large space open and cool (especially on days that lack the trademark winds of eastern Washington). Tomorrow, the ambient temperature is expected to approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the chimps will probably appreciate the gentle breeze created by the new appliances.
Here are some snapshots from today.