This week Willy B, Mave and Honey B were more than happy to demo our two new indoor playrooms. Today they have continued to explore, relax and play in the new sun-filled spaces. It’s been a delight watching them zoom (Honey B), stomp (Willy B) or shuffle (Mave) from one enclosure to the next. For the humans, it’s also been a learning experience as we practice shifting and cleaning under a new set of circumstances.
For those unfamiliar with captive chimpanzees (and their strength and unpredictability), caregivers never enter an enclosure at the same time that the chimpanzees are occupying that space (the one exception being during an anesthetic medical event) . We ask the chimpanzees to shift from one space to another so we can secure and lock doors (using a remote operating system). We make sure all the remote controlled “chimpanzee” doors are securely in place and the chimps are identified out of the space before we unlock the “human” doors to enter and clean safely.
There are several new remote operating chimpanzee doors that have been installed to connect old areas to new areas, new areas together, and new rooms to future spaces. If that sounds a little confusing, that’s because it definitely can be overwhelming! We take safety very seriously so we are always reporting and double checking each other’s shifting plans.
JB presented us with a new updated map this week:
And we did a little training to practice and orient ourselves with our new system:
Here’s Diana practicing operating the new hydraulic door “L” :
All these new doors mean more choices and opportunities for our chimpanzee friends. Seeing them boldly take on their new space makes all the training and yes… even a little bit of human stress… all the more worth it!