When I set out on my perimeter walk this morning, the sanctuary was blanketed in a dense fog.
Climbing the 80 or so feet in elevation to the top of Young’s Hill was all it took to escape into the first rays of morning sunlight.
This morning’s walk was particularly enjoyable because I got to imagine myself walking through the expanded outdoor habitats, which are just now beginning to take shape. The first of the massive steel corner posts were set this week by our friends at Sage Mechanical.
When we started building Young’s Hill back in 2010, we were working under a number of constraints, the most significant of which being that we didn’t own any of the vacant land beyond the pasture above the chimp house. In order to avoid any problems with future neighbors, we kept the fence line far away from the property boundaries. Since then, however, we’ve bought up all of the adjoining land and that has allowed us to push the fence line out as far as topography and underground utility easements will permit.
While most of the area we’re expanding into is also pasture, we were able to cut a little slice into the woods so that the chimps can enjoy the shade of a few tall pines, in addition to the less mature trees that we will be planting.
Those trees that had to be cleared for the fence line will become part of the numerous climbing structures we plan to build next spring.
Plans are also moving ahead for the large, fully-enclosed outdoor area on the west side of the building, which should get underway as soon as weather allows early next year. Meanwhile, the chimps continue to enjoy the greenhouses. Honey B actually let me close off the mezzanine for cleaning so that she could spend time out there (after only a short protest).
Mave was keen on getting Willy B to groom with her. Her invitation? Looking his way and shaking a large bamboo plant vigorously.
He finally obliged.
Rayne was keeping an eye on things from across the hall.
When you hear someone blowing raspberries in her group, it’s usually Terry. But this morning it was Cy, telling me to put the stupid camera down and play chase.
Throughout the morning, we have to shift the chimps around their various enclosures so that we can clean, and each time we do so we have to perform a series of safety checks that involves finding each of the chimpanzees. This morning, Cy was making that difficult. When this happens, we check the security cameras. He was just above us and out of view, engaged in his favorite activity – reading magazines.
Each time the chimps shifted to a new area, Cy would bring his reading material and find a new place to camp out.
By mid-morning, the fog had lifted completely and Jamie and Burrito set out to survey the upcoming changes to their sanctuary home.
I keep trying to tell Jamie that those trees will be hers. So far, she seems far more interested in the equipment. Which reminds of the time she wanted me to chase her with a chainsaw. Not safe, Jamie. Not safe.