I was going through my photos last night and I found this picture taken on January 2, 2008. When I opened it up, I my first thought was “thank goodness we don’t have any snow yet.” But that thought was quickly replaced with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. For the past two days I have also had the honor of signing year end thank you cards for all of our 2008 donors and I am deeply humbled by the generosity of so many people. Looking at this picture and reading the hundreds and hundreds of names of people who have supported us, I am so acutely aware that without all of you we could not have gotten to where we are today! So today I wanted to personally thank you all for being there for Burrito, Missy, Jamie, Negra, Jody, Foxie, and Annie.
Outside in December?
We have been enjoying unseasonable warm weather this year which means the chimpanzees still get to enjoy their outdoor play area and the sunshine! Last year at this time we had several inches of snow on the ground…maybe global warming isn’t all bad!
Chimp House Progress!
Our Director of Operations, JB Mulcahy, traveled from New York to spend a week to work on both the Chimp House and his own housing. (We can’t wait for him and Diana to be here permanently!) While he was here, we were joined by a crew of very talented and hard working individuals and owe a big thank you to long-term friends and volunteers Jim Green and Curtis Strain, Keith’s cousin Chad Radel, Keith’s uncle Jim Radel, (both drove from Minnesota to help) and friend John Samaras for their hard work and excellent craftsmanship.We were able to install all the remaining caging, the decking for the chimpanzees’ platforms, new food delivery systems, the framework for a playroom bridge, as well as hang all the exterior siding and break ground on the outdoor play area. The speed of construction was beyond all expectation. Pictures are worth a thousand words so I have attached a few. Click each picture for a bigger image as well as a written description of what you’ll be seeing. Keith
Well after several days of hard work we almost beat the snow! A big thank you to all our volunteers who helped get the slab poured, walls framed, and roof rafters installed on our kitchen, laundry and mechanical room addition. Pant hoots to Susan, Dayna, Aaron, Jim, Nick, Josh, Bill, and Curtis for helping us get this far!
If you would like to help finish this project we will be working on it on Sunday December 9th. Please contact our volunteer coordinator at [email protected].
Lend us a hand! Or two. We can even use feet!
Please join us for one of CSNW’s weekend work parties! We have a lot of work to do to get the building finished so that Annie, Foxy, Jamie, Burreto, Missy, Negra and Jody have a safe, secure home ready in 2008. You don’t have to be a skilled craftsman or have construction knowledge. Just a willingness to help out with your hands – and your heart!
Email [email protected] to get involved!
Chewing gum and chimpanzees…
Here’s another great question we received from a donor: “Why is sugar-free chewing gum on your wish list? Hmmmâ€¦”
Chewing gum is sort of a daily treat for chimpanzees – they really enjoy it, and since the gum is sugar-free it does not cause harm to their teeth. This is a strategy to alleviate boredom. The #1 challenge of providing quality of life for captive chimpanzees is figuring out how to keep their minds active – because they can get extremely depressed when they don’t have enough to do. We will also give the chimpanzees access to ice, toothbrushes, and plant materials that chimpanzees have been known to enjoy chewing, because it gives them something to do and breaks up an otherwise mundane day.
Should chimpanzees wear dresses?
We received the following question from a donor: I was looking at your wish list and I have a question: what are the clothes, hats, and shoes for? I assume the other stuff is all for the chimps or facility, but do they dress up in people’s clothes?
Good question! Those items must seem like very strange requests. The purpose of giving captive chimpanzees ‘human items’ is to alleviate boredom. Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent and curious and, of course, are not meant to live in captivity. In the wild they travel great distances each day, forage and sometimes hunt for food, manufacture and use tools, build nests to sleep in at night, defend their territory from neighboring groups… the list of complicated behaviors goes on and on. The #1 challenge of caring for captive chimpanzees is figuring out how to keep their minds active – because they can get extremely depressed when they don’t have enough to do.
Because chimpanzees who have been raised in captivity cannot be released into the wild, we must do whatever we can to make their environment complicated and interesting. Giving them access to human items is a great way to do so. Most captive chimpanzees have been raised either with or by humans, so objects like shoes and clothing are familiar to them. Some chimpanzees actually like to put clothing on (probably because they’ve seen humans do it and they are imitating) but most often they will use clothing to build nests. Free-living chimpanzees create nests in the trees out of branches and leaves and this seems to be an innate behavior because captive chimpanzees do it as well, but with blankets, sheets, clothing… any fabric they have access to, really. Different types, colors, and sizes of clothing gives them more variety for nest-building.
Of course, it’s important to distinguish between giving chimpanzees access to human items and forcing them to use human items, as we often see in entertainment situations. People often think it is funny or cute to see chimpanzees wearing clothing, and this is a perspective that we DO NOT take. But we do believe that we are obligated to give them access to any (safe) items that have been known to alleviate boredom in other captive chimpanzees.