This weekend, y’all were treated to a pair of vivid stories: J.B.’s about a quiet moment with Jamie and Diana’s about an unusual predicament involving a snake. If you didn’t read them, what are you waiting for?
Today’s blog post isn’t really a story. Instead, I’m changing directions and just providing a few unrelated updates.
As Jody heals up from her recent trip to the sanctuary’s clinic, we have begun to let her have socialization sessions with the other chimps in her group. These meetings are a standard practice for us; controlled visits like today’s allow for the chimps to groom and play without a barrier. (Of course, the others can always see and interact with Jody through the steel mesh that separates their areas.) Since we’re concerned about Jo’s incision site staying clean, its safer for her to have just one companion at a time. This morning, Foxie darted into the front rooms and excitedly groomed with Jody for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, over on the other side of the building, the second phase of the expansion project (Phase 2) is well underway. Although the construction team has not yet poured the foundation, one can already see the outlines of two new indoor playrooms, two new Greenhouse-style enclosures, and the central hallway. There’s obviously a lot to be done, but it’s encouraging to witness the steady progress and even more exciting to imagine multiple groups of chimpanzees hanging out in the area when it is complete.
Finally, the day ended with a rambunctious crescendo: Jamie’s delight at an area full of grab bags. Grab bags are one of Jamie’s favorite enrichment items, so she absolutely lost it when we let her group back into the Playroom to gather, process, and savor the valued puzzles hidden inside. As usual, she tried her best to monopolize everything and ended up sitting in the middle of the Playroom surrounded by the remains of ransacked enrichment (much as a dragon would sit on a hoard of gold that it had plundered from the charred remnants of destroyed cities). That’s Jamie’s style, sometimes. Fortunately, we always put out enough enrichment materials to give the other chimps more opportunities.
Even after we locked up the chimp areas, changed out of our scrubs and prepared to leave the sanctuary for the evening, Jamie was still sitting amid her mountain of grab bags, apparently content.