It’s hard to know where to begin in sharing our first full day with the “Lucky Six”! (It’s also hard to know where to begin with what’s left of my heat-sizzled mind at the end of this day so bear with me! 😉 ).
As many of you are aware, have so loyally been following along with us, and ultimately, made possible after all these months of planning, Cy, Rayne, Gordo, Terry, Lucky and Dora arrived home late yesterday afternoon, from their former home at the now closed Wildlife Waystation in California. (We will be sharing many more details and video of their trip once we gather ourselves!). All of us here have been eagerly looking at their photos and learning as much as we can about them, but I can say as we all stood waiting to greet them, when the trailer and drivers Project Chimps graciously provided for their transport pulled into the driveway, each one felt our hearts and eyes swelled. What an incredible journey! What an incredible next chapter of their lives. And ours, as well.
Because the six will remain in quarantine for their first 30 days here, two caregivers will work with them each day, while the remaining caregivers continue to care for the seven and the three. Anthony and I shared today with the six and let me tell you, it’s been a pure delight and privilege being able to have the day getting to know and care for the Lucky Six while they rest from their trip and take in their new home. Everyone seems to be adjusting well so far. And while we are still learning each of their personalities of course, what I most wanted to share are photos of these very special chimpanzee people for all of you who made this new chapter in their lives possible, but especially for the caregivers at Wildlife Waystation who have cared for, and loved, these chimpanzees for the majority of their lives so far.
As fellow caregivers having the great privilege of caring for chimpanzees and knowing full well the amazing folks they are, our hearts twist up knowing how profoundly difficult watching them go would be. They were cared for and loved every single day by you and we’re so grateful for the privilege of being able to work together to provide them a home when they needed one. While we know nothing much eases the grief of seeing them go, we hope that in knowing Cy, Rayne, Lucky, Gordo, Terry and Dora are already so very loved, and that you have our promise that we will care for them from our hearts, for all their days forward, it will help ease your hearts. And theirs, for we know they miss you, too. Thank you for taking such good care of them. We already cherish each one of them.
Anthony and I teamed up on photos today so here’s are some first captures of these beautiful chimpanzees!
Sweet, darling, Dora! She spent the majority of the day in one of the greenhouses nesting and quietly taking everything in. We were really delighted that she decided to join the Big Boys, Cy, Terry and Gordo, for dinner and did not hesitate to hold her own and push them aside for drinks of Gatorade. It was pretty cute seeing her tiny self (we find she reminds us of Foxie) sitting next to these huge guys!
Handsome Gordo greeting Dora:
Dora was curious about happenings in her new home and came over to check out Anthony and I as we cleaned one of the playrooms and Anthony took this photo of her and I getting to know each other – hard not to *swoon* over this endearing lady. Insider tip! She rubs her toes together like Foxie!
Gordo!! The feet!! Handsome Gordo has been on the quiet side today, watching and listening to his often rowdy neighbors (the three!) and the new to him humans. We often found him endearingly spread eagle in the cooler playroom, seemingly completely relaxed and dozing, perhaps from the long trip and the hot day:
Beautiful Rayne! I was able to spend a fair amount of time with her today which was so special – she is so beautiful and exudes such grace and dignity. Gordo spent a lot of time with Rayne today, grooming and just resting near her. Who could blame him? I find her very comforting to be with:
Here she is exploring the new greenhouses, with the valley and river below. Rayne’s been dragging blankets around to nest with and at one point we saw her on a mission with a giant slinky accessory around her arm:
Here’s a few people checking out the neighbors (and vice versa) as the seven foraged for lunch on Young’s Hill:
Lucky! Anthony captured these beautiful photos of her. Lucky was on the more elusive side today, choosing to spend most of her time relaxing and grooming at the top of the greenhouses, taking in the views. She did come down and hang out seemingly for the sake of hanging out and it really makes us smile how much she resembles her brother Cy. What a gift to have them both here.
This has me just now realizing we didn’t capture any photos of Cy! Wow, he is a handsome guy! And though he remained fairly mellow and quiet all day, when he decided to respond to Willy B’s occasional bursts of rowdiness, his sheer size and strength was awe-inspiring and it was easy to see why he has the role as alpha male of the six. When chimpanzees display, it’s common for them to use objects that increase the noise and intimidation levels. But Cy’s displays were all Cy. He was displaying in the top of playroom 3 while we cleaned in the top of playroom 2 and the entire floor was shaking just from him stomping his feet as he walked past!
But Cy is a sweet, playful, endearing guy. Cy has his sights on a couple of the humans so far, who, when they enter the room, he absolutely lights up to see! It must makes your heart burst. We will do our best to grab some photos of him tomorrow!
This brings us to this guy! Terry!! There aren’t enough words for all the amazingness Terry holds. He’s been our constant shadow and delight today. Terry is definitely currently playing the role of social butterfly and loves engaging with all his new human friends as much as we love engaging with him. Such a sweet, gentle giant of a man. We were marveling at how gentle he is with us given how big he is, but let me tell you, when he’s displaying in response to the neighbors’ displays, this guy will make your eyes pop. He does a phenomenal running jump-double kick at the doors and windows (just like Foxie, but with *just* a bit more weight to throw around!).
I just love this!
But two seconds after he jump kicks the door, he’s right back wanting to play with his human friends and offer kisses. Or licks, as the case may be:
Working with the six in quarantine today, I wasn’t able to get photos of the Mave, Willy B or Honey B, but they’ve been enjoying time in their outdoor chute and Willy B in particular has been enjoying trying to get a response from his new neighbors by exhibiting some amazing drumming skills on the connecting metal doors.
And our beloved seven, they enjoyed a lunch forage on the hill, but spent much of the day engaged in cooler, summertime enrichment activities inside, like pools of water filled with grapes and pomegranate seeds. Chad shared this photo of Missy, Jody and Jamie and was describing their unique styles of collecting seeds and grapes and this photo sums them up. Missy (left) goes for a bobbing-for-apples style, Jody (middle) is more delicate in her choices, and Jamie (right), well, Jamie just scoops as many as she can at once. Naturally.
Goodnight for now, all. We can’t wait to share more with you about all 16 (!!) members of this incredible chimpanzee family! And please remember, the Lucky Six were just one family of several who still remain at the now closed Wildlife Waystation in California and are anxiously awaiting their new homes at accredited, experienced sanctuaries and they still need our help! You can find out more information and how to help here: ChimpsInNeed.org