As you may well know, this sanctuary is chock full of personalities, and the more you get to know the chimpanzees and cattle, the more you appreciate each individual’s many sides.
First, I want to say how incredibly thankful we are for the donations that have been coming in for our year-end fundraising. At this moment we are 35% towards our goal!
Each and every donation is even more meaningful to us this year, and we are so appreciative of all of your support as we work towards the day when we will be telling you all about the personalities of the new six chimpanzees who we hope will be coming from Wildlife Waystation in 2021!
On with the show—
Personality exhibit #1: Betsy
Every once in a while when we go to hang out with the cattle, we discover Betsy has mud caked on all over her face. Our best guess is she dips her head into the soft banks of the creek on purpose. She’s the only one of the four who does this. She seems quite content with the mud, so maybe she’s on to some sort of mountain mud facial.
Personality exhibit #2: Jamie
Today Jamie decided to use the “foot box” as her own personal boot box.
She stored her boots in there for about a half hour, until she was ready to move to another part of the building, boots in hand.
Personality exhibit #3: Negra
Negra is continuing to construct over-the-top, really quite outrageous blanket nests. The photo below is the last view I had of her this evening before turning the lights out.
Looking at that photo above, and learning that Negra often pouts her lips through the caging to kiss her caregivers’ hands generally elicits the impression that Negra is a very sweet chimpanzee.
I’m not going to say that she’s not sweet; she certainly can be, but her personality really is more sharp than saccharine.
As we’ve mentioned before, she has a bit of a mafia boss relationship with Missy in particular. I witnessed this aspect of their relationship yesterday.
The chimpanzees were finishing up their breakfast and I was lucky enough to walk by the front rooms just at the right moment to see Missy attempting to pass Negra while carrying several pieces of primate chow. Negra whimpered and held out her hand. Missy paused just for a second and then proceeded to put all of the chow into Negra’s outstretched hand.
Now, if you didn’t know their individual personalities and just witnessed this moment, you might understandably surmise that Missy was being nice to Negra and her hand off was a moment of altruism. But, Missy also wouldn’t generally be described as “sweet” by those who know her well. Don’t get me wrong, she and Negra have very sweet moments together:
but Missy is a very politically shrewd chimpanzee.
Missy likes primate chow, but she doesn’t love it. So it’s not a bad deal for her to give up something that she may consider low value as a “pay off” to keep in good standing with Queen Negra. I would probably do the same thing myself.
Betsy and her mud mask is very funny. Now we all know her beauty secret. Jamie and her personal boot box also funny, but it’s also so very Jamie. I’ve come to believe nothing Jamie does could surprise me, she’s a super star! And I see the work crew has inspired her footwear style. Negra and Missy’s relationship is interesting….but I couldn’t help thinking maybe Missy is getting a tiny bit of payback for her relationship maneuvers with Annie. What goes around comes around! Those photos of Negra and Missy are just so, dare I say “Sweet!. So so sweet.
So now I am wondering, in a slightly different scenario with Missy and Neggie, what would happen if Missy had tomatoes and Negra put out her hand requesting one? What would politician Missy do, have you ever see something like this play out? How would Missy keep her precious tomatoes and not offend Negra or would Negra know not to ask for something of that high value?
I can’t imagine managing and satisfying all the personalities, what a wonderful challenge. What will the new six bring to the sanctuary — individually and as a group? I am starting to become excited about the possibilities!
Linda C says
Good question! The key words here are “low value food”. I think, IIRC, that when Missy gets her favorites, like tomato, she goes upstairs or somewhere where she can be alone, and this is probably why! Let’s see what they say!
There was an incident many years ago, that I thought we had photo documentation of but couldn’t find, Of Negra doing the same thing for an ear of corn. Negra doesn’t really love tomatoes, so she probably wouldn’t bother to ask for them, and I believe Missy would draw the line there for sure!
Thanks for the reply Diana. Lucky for Missy Negra isn’t a tomato kind of girl.
Linda C says
You do, Diana. It’s the first example in your video “Sharing”….to “keep the peace”. 🙂
Ah, so that’s Betsy’s secret to looking as fabulous as she already is.
Well, that Betsy sure burst my bubble. I’ve been thinking that the CSNW cattle are the best groomed cattle I’ve seen. I’ve often wondered if they are bathed and brushed.
And…speaking of Wildlife Waystation, are the three Californians already acquainted with the six newcomers? If so, is it likely that they will remember each other and will it make integration easier? And…is Meredith 100% again?
Here’s the inside info – Willy B and Honey B used to live with two of the six. It was a while ago, but we do hope that might help ease the integration. You never know with chimps. Meredith has seemed completely back to herself the last two days, so we are hoping all is well. Thank you for asking!
Nancy D says
Diana, I loved your blog tonight. The picture of the foot box filled with Jamie’s boots was priceless. Oh, and the thought of Negra standing there with her hand out waiting for the chow to be handed over to her…hysterical! I hope Missy is rewarded for her generosity.
Thank you, Nancy! I’m glad you enjoyed the stories. 🙂
Jeani Goodrich says
Diana, I love your descriptions and pictures of the personalities of the cattle and chimpanzees. I can’t wait to show one of my students where Jamie stored her boots. He’s trying to tell his mom his boots are ready to send to Jamie but she wants to check the size and make sure they really are too small. Lol He loves to hear about the sanctuary.
I’m so glad you’re getting closer to your goal. It will certainly be the Merriest Christmas and Happiest New Year if we can also celebrate reaching the Sanctuary’s goal.
Barbara H. says
Betsy the cow must have a reason for the mud cakes on her face. She must have learned
from a human woman who might do the same with a better product from the store. Really
very funny but personal. I hope that the sanctuary will be able to take in those chimps
that you mentioned and give them a wonderful home like the ones you have now. Good
luck with that.
Hi Diana, great blog as always!
The other day, when Jamie put her head in the footbox, she must have seen the possibilities for her boots…..What an ingenious person she is….and so practical.
I just LOVE that picture of Neggie tucked away on a cold wintersday/night; that looks so very comfortable and cosy and it makes it hard to imagine her demanding food from Missy. Could it be that Negra had instructed Missy to go get her some?? ( Och Missy be a dear an get me some chow would you??) 🙂
And I can see a new product in the webshop soon: jars of mud recommended by Betsy for a lovely soft skin? 🙂
That’s a nice interpretation – Missy fetching Negra some chow. :). Maybe we should bottle up the sanctuary mud! There are a couple of companies that have facial products derived from dirt with the idea that the bacteria in natural soil help balance the skin and all of our scrubbing does our skin harm. I think one company is actually called Dirt?
Mary Russell says
I love reading each and every blog! I also love the comments from everyone who so love this place! There’s a lot of love out there! Hugs to all. Stay safe. Enjoy the holiday season.
I love hearing about all their personality traits and quirks?
Is it weird of me to find the nose hairs on chimps sooo cute. I know I would not feel the same seeing it on humans. Bonne soirée (have a good evening).
How often does or in what ways does Negra usually assert herself to stay in her position in the hierarchy? I know she is a fan of napping and lounging and wondering how often and in what ways she has to expend energy on her position? Or is it so established at this point that it’s just a given with the group?