I have to really hand it to J.B. for his greenhouse design and Gary from Sage Mechanical for putting it all together plus adding some special touches.
These new greenhouses are truly a chimp’s dream.
Yesterday was the first day that I was cleaning in one of the new playrooms with the new group of six chimpanzees on the other side of the windows in a greenhouse. I snapped some quick photos on my phone through the window to give you a sense of the chimpanzees’ perspective.
All of the new six like to take advantage of the vertical space and can often be found up high on the benches at the edges of the greenhouse. There are some great spots to observe the neighbors.
Cy even took a minute away from his magazines to watch Willy B in the Courtyard today:
At Wildlife Waystation, the indoor space for the chimpanzees was much smaller than at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, and they spent most of their time in their concrete-floored, chain-link fenced space. We were all pleasantly surprised that they walked on the grass in their new greenhouse habitats right away. The grass is an experiment for us in these new spaces, one that so far is working well.
Though there are many differences, the greenhouses are probably most similar to what they are used to at Wildlife Waystation. During the day, there is usually at least one chimpanzee out there, and sometimes all six of them are in one greenhouse or another. During their first week they were in the greenhouses well after we had closed up for the night.
Last night around 7:30, I was outside wandering around. The sanctuary property was full of activity. There was a doe grazing in the pasture near Young’s Hill. The bovine family had gotten up from their daytime shady spot and they too were spending the cooler evening hours grazing. Ground squirrels and the occasional marmot were scurrying about, always in a hurry. The cliff swallows that have taken over the eaves of the new addition to the chimp house were soaring and dropping and diving, undoubtedly getting their dinner of insects.
As I approached the chimp building, however, there wasn’t even the hint of anyone stirring. I walked around the outside of the fence behind the new greenhouses and did not see a soul.
It made me feel disappointed for a fleeting moment, because it’s nice to see the chimps among the bamboo and logs and grass, with the sky as the backdrop, but then I smiled. Sometimes I even have to remind myself that it’s not about what I want or what I think they should be doing; it’s about giving them choices and letting them figure out what they want.
I pictured all six of them–Cy, Lucky, Gordo, Terry, Rayne, and Dora–sleeping soundly in their nests made of blankets and paper, in the special spot they chose for themselves, indoors in the new playrooms, perhaps with a newfound sense of safety and security.
Linda C says
I’m amazed that they’re adapting to all of these new things so quickly!
Just for my own training…are those first few chimps-eye high photos of Rayne? Little Dora, I can already recognize.
Hi Linda! That’s Dora and then Lucky and Dora.
Thanks! I had taken Lucky for Rayne
You’re right Diana, those new greenhouses are amazing, its a gift to think like a chimp, and I believe you
all have that gift! It makes me so happy to see them all so Happy 🙂
John Joseph O'Brien says
Do all the Chimps sleep in the same spot every night?
We don’t know about the new group yet, if they will settle into a pattern. With the original group, most have a few very specific favored spots they rotate through. Willy B, Mave, and Honey B choose different nesting spots quite frequently. Willy B seems to prefer being up on a bench while Mave and Honey B frequently sleep on the floor.
I agree about big kudos going to J.B. and Gary for those greenhouses. I think the new green houses need to be included in one of Jamie’s Dwell magazine spreads. They are fantastic! I want one attached to side of my house but with a finer mesh to keep mosquitoes out. Sadly I would not have that jaw dropping view and I think that’s 75% of the magic. It must be fun to be inside the greenhouse spaces when you are cleaning.
I have a question that can be answered any old time in another post. You wrote “During their first week they were in the greenhouses well after we had closed up for the night.” I might be spacing out here but I can’t remember, do the original seven have access to their greenhouse at night or is the space closed off? For some reason I was thinking they did not have access. Same goes for the three, did they always have access to the chute at night? I am mostly curious if the chimps enjoy sleeping outside with the fresh air and night noises around them or do they prefer the safety of sleeping inside with four solid walls and a ceiling above.
Linda C says
I feel like they have access (the 7). Remember the videos where they have to wake up Neggie, and get her down from her platform for breakfast? Ad then Jo slips out, but they need to clean?
At least in warm months, I think some prefer the greenhouse
They do! We close off the electric fence enclosures, but the chimps have their respective greenhouses and chute during the warmer months. I’ve seen Annie nesting in the platform in the greenhouse later in the evening, but everyone seems to choose to go fully indoors at night.
Thanks Diana, I couldn’t recall but I thought the seven preferred coming in. Wonderful they all have the option. Thanks for answering my silly question.
Gail Brown says
Diana so sorry to hear about Wilson. Sending prayers out to yours family.
Thank you guys for loving the chimps…Burrito is one of the loves of my life!!!
Thank you, Gail.
Marya Barey says
Diana, thanks for sharing your observations with us and taking us along in your travels on the property. I can just see that doe and hear the cliff swallows. I think all these beings are doing so well on the property because of its overall positive energy (ok, so I’m an old hippie and believe in such things). The new greenhouses are truly works of art. Thank you JB and engineers! It’s so heartwarming to be able to experience the new 6’s process of making their new home their own through your eyes and those of the staff.