Here’s something positive – the chimpanzees are really enjoying the snow snacks that are the result of Snowmageddon 2022!
I tried to get some good photos, but when photo opportunities presented themselves, the chimps were in motion and I only had a cell phone on me. so I only captured the cover photo of this blog post, this blurry image of Foxie who had just retrieved a mouthful of snow from her front rooms and was headed up to the loft in her playroom:
and Gordo who had brought snow from his playroom to the front rooms on that side of the building. He deposited the snow on the floor, and left a bit for Cy to enjoy (see main photo above).
I can’t say that the humans are enjoying the snow quite as much as the chimpanzees right now. Though the last few days have been an adventure, and we’ve certainly laughed a lot, it’s proving to be a logistical challenge to figure out where, exactly, to put all of this stuff. More looms above on the roof, not-so-subtly threatening to upend the progress we’ve made.
Look at the form on Kelsi. Is shoveling an Olympic event? I give her 10/10.
Young’s Hill is inaccessible for a few reasons: 1) there’s so much snow everywhere! The chimps would be chest deep in it, so they have to wait until we can get in there to create a pathway for them. 2) we haven’t yet been able to shovel a pathway for ourselves to the door that opens onto the hill, even if we could let the chimps out. 3) the snow is weighing down the electric fence wires, weakening the system.
More good news, though: we are fully prepared for winter storms. Though it will be a bit before full outdoor access is possible, all of the chimpanzees have lots of indoor space, blankets, toys, food puzzles, movies, and humans plus their partners who drive through the biggest snowstorm in decades to help the onsite staff take care of them.
In addition to all that, they have their indoor/outdoor greenhouses! I’m kicking myself for not getting photos yesterday of the chimpanzees in the new greenhouses (I did get a little video clip of Mave that I posted to our Instagram). We have a new heater that we turned on for an hour or so yesterday, and then the sun kept those tall enclosures warm for the rest of the day. I cleaned the greenhouses this morning and can attest to the fact that they were well used the day before.
All sixteen of the chimpanzees here are the product of very unfortunate circumstances. They shouldn’t be in Cle Elum, Washington. They shouldn’t have been used in medical research. They shouldn’t be in captivity at all. However, given their unfortunate histories, they are extremely fortunate chimpanzees now. And all of us are immensely fortunate to know them.
Even though I can’t shake the feeling that the snow lurking out every window and door is taunting me in some way…
I know it will not last forever. Spring will come, sure as it does every year. We have so much to look forward to as we hunker down and appreciate everything we have, including unlimited snow snacking.