Our day started off as it does most winter mornings, by firing up the heater for the greenhouse and then heading off around Young’s Hill to check the security of the perimeter before giving the chimpanzees access to their outdoor, snow-covered habitat. Just as I was going outside, Foxie ran over to send Strawberry Shortcake with me. I guess she figured if I was going on an adventure, I better have the same backup she does. (Don’t worry, Strawberry Shortcake, my hair pretty much looks the same in the morning).
I’m not sure it got above freezing today, but if it did it was a fleeting moment. The sun is already on it’s downward slope for the So while the chimpanzees always have the choice to go outside, they’ve all been content to play chase, huddle together in grooming piles and if you’re Willy B, grab his favorite leopard print blanket and settle in to watch his “stories.” Today he’s enjoying Ice Age again. Another favorite. As you can see, he’s riveted:
Willy B LOVES this blanket!! I’ve never seen any of the chimpanzees take such a liking to a specific blanket as he’s done with this one (though I can say they all really love the huge wolf blankets we received for Christmas – thank you!). We were just saying that it’s been about a year since he was gifted this by one of our lovely volunteers and it’s still his favorite! And thankfully, by some miracle, has avoided the clutches of Miss Jody, the blanket shredding machine.
I think Burrito is the only one who made a brief foray onto the Hill in a hopeful game of chase with Chad, but he quickly high-tailed it back inside:
As you can probably tell, it’s another day of challenging photo opportunities. Next to the chimp house computer is the display of all the views from the chimp house cameras we use to monitor and care for the chimpanzees. It might give you an idea of why it’s often such a challenge on such days to get good photos of the chimps.
Top left, are the front rooms and loft of the playroom in the original building. You can see a big pile of nests and chimps up in the super toasty loft, napping and grooming.
Top middle, that one blanket pile upstairs on the right, in the sunny window? If you’re guessing Negra, you’d be correct. That’s her spot! (See photos below). This is also the camera where we will often see boss Jamie’s face pop up, or Burrito swinging back and forth on the firehose as he peers into the kitchen, because they can see just through the kitchen door into the foyer where we sit to write the blog so it’s one way of many to get our attention if they need anything.
Top right, is the greenhouse where the chimpanzees spend a lot of time, even in winter, but it’s just cold enough today that they are preferring to be inside, so no one is out there right now.
Bottom left, is the mezzanine in Phase 1 and that dark pile in the lower left corner is made up of Willy B and Mave who are enjoying a quiet grooming session with one another.
Bottom middle, are the front rooms in Phase 1 and you can just make out Honey B in the middle room, climbing the rung ladder which leads to the mezzanine. Honey B has the zooms and keeps racing to all the windows upstairs and downstairs, seemingly hoping someone is on the other side to play chase with. I do think Honey is missing all the activity and required supervision of the construction workers now that things have slowed down a bit! But no worries, Anthony just raced over to surprise her and I can see her zooming back and forth, up and down.
Bottom right, our driveway and the entrance to the chimp house. The sun is just peeking out, but it’s already on it’s downward slope and it’s going to be a cold one tonight.
Now I suspect this is going to spur some understandable questions and hopes about “chimp cams” for you all to be able to watch the chimps when you like. I know J.B. has addressed this in the past in better detail than I could provide, but between cameras being a really tricky thing to safely place near chimpanzees, as you might imagine, and the challenges rural internet sometimes presents just for our day to day needs, it’s just not something we can do any time soon. As you can see, even for us the cameras we use to monitor the chimps offer views through caging so you really have to know what to look for!
Well, Jamie’s face was just in that middle camera peering in to let us know it’s dinner time! All ten chimpanzees are hooting and hollering and raising a pre-dinner ruckus you wouldn’t believe, so that’s our cue to get moving with dinner service! Oh! I almost forgot! Here is Negra’s stylish nest du jour: