And start waving it around like a racing flag signaling it’s “Go Time!”

 

And then throw it and the game of chase begins.

 

The blanket just happened to land on his back when he threw it in the air today. I assume it looked like I was chasing a green ghost around for a little bit.

A little bit later, lunch was served and Negra was really pleased with her Brussels sprouts. She even collected those that were tossed aside by the others.

She was joined by Foxie and moved on to her red onions. She might have moved on to her red onions after seeing how much Foxie was enjoying hers.

Speaking of Negra and lunch, we hope to see you participate in The Queen’s Brunch on June 13th. Be sure to register to receive updates on the event and online auction. There are some many great items being added to the list, including this magnificent watercolor and ink painting of the Queen herself by Jennifer Kruger! Be sure to look at some of the other amazing auction items, and stay tuned for even more amazing things to come.

Old Tools, New Ideas

Chimpanzees are known for their ability to evaluate situations and find some pretty novel ways to handle the task at hand. Everyday, the chimpanzees are provided with numerous items throughout the day as enrichment. One of these items is a long, plastic tube. Jamie generally uses it to reach items just beyond her reach, or to groom the human caregivers. Burrito uses it to play tug-o-war. And every body uses it as a straw when we provide them with buckets of diluted Gatorade. At the end of each dinner service, we also provide the chimpanzees with nighttime food puzzles. The purpose of these puzzles is to exercise their cognitive functions, help promote natural behaviors, and to try to alleviate boredom. And every so often, they surprise us when two-and-two are put together.

Last night’s evening food puzzle were small PVC tubes. The purpose of this puzzle is to promote one of chimpanzees’ natural behaviors: fishing. In the wild, chimpanzees have been found to fish for termites, grubs, and honey. They will find a stick and modify it to suite the situation. They will adjust the length, girth, and the leaves depending on what they are fishing for, and where it is hidden. Here, caregivers put a smear of peanut butter, smashed fruit (bananas, avocados, etc) applesauce, or honey in PVC tubes for the chimpanzees to fish out. The chimpanzee’s are also provided a tool in the form of a chopstick. Some just use their fingers, while others use the chopstick they are provided. Last night, we were pretty amazed that Honey B decided she had an even better tool: the long plastic tube. It was so efficient, she waited patiently for Willy B and Mave (who were using chopsticks and fingers) to be done with theirs, collected them up, and got the peanut butter missed by both of them.

As mentioned before, the chimpanzees use these tubes as straws as well. Usually for buckets of diluted Gatorade or sometimes for their breakfast smoothie. Annie is one who is more likely to use a straw for her smoothie. That is, until caregiver Anthony witnessed her using the tube to siphon smoothie from Jamie’s cup as Jamie was drinking from it!

These chimpanzee people never cease to amaze and surprise us with their actions!

Lastly, an update on Jody. Jody was recovering so well and wanted nothing more to be back with her group, we decided she was well enough to be brought back into the group. She flew into the playroom and was greeted with a sincere hug by Annie.

 

Case of the Mondays Remedy

Mondays have that stigma of always being a bad day. For humans, it usually signals the end of the weekend and the beginning of the work week. For the chimpanzees, though, it’s another day. Though some bad things can happen on Monday, there is always a silver lining to bad days.

Honey B and Mave seemed completely oblivious to what the stigma of Monday is. They played and laughed nearly all day.

While with the Group of Seven, when the chimpanzees went on their morning patrol, Foxie marched out onto Young’s Hill on a mission.

With Dora there with her every step of the way, she climbed the Twister.

But stopping at where the firehose ladder ends wasn’t enough for Foxie this day.

She wanted to be on the top platform. And the top platform was where she went.

Some of you may remember the last time Foxie climbed all the way to the top of the Twister, she was accompanied by Jody. Unfortunately, Jody was not with Foxie today.

Today, Jody went through a medical procedure. Last week, her foot became swollen and after careful monitoring we decided that diagnostics were in order. Jody readily cooperated with x-rays using the foot box, which thankfully revealed no bone involvement, but further evaluation was required so the decision was made to put Jody under anesthesia for a full exam. Our veterinarian, Dr. Erin Zamzow, also arranged for Dr. Tyler Sugerman, an emergency surgical veterinarian, to come to the sanctuary and perform an ultrasound on Jody to ensure she was in overall good health.

J.B. (left), Dr. Tyler Sugerman (back), Chad (right), and Dr. Zamzow position Jody to prepare to take x-rays.
Dr. Sugerman performs an ultrasound on Jody.

We are happy to say that preliminary testing showed Jody to be in great health and the swelling on her foot was due to a large hematoma, which after being drained and cleaned by Dr. Erin, should not be a concern. She is currently recovering in the front rooms on a big pile of blankets and waiting to be reunited with her family.

And yes. Foxie’s first priority when she received access back to the rooms adjacent to Jody was to pay her a visit.

Random Assortments of the Day

I’m finding it hard to piece together things that have happened today at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest into a nice, fluid story. However, there were just a wide assortment of things that happened, that it’s probably best to just showcase them.

Before the clouds came rolling in to give us a nice, cool Spring rain, Willy B did venture outside. He stayed outside for nearly an hour on his own before the sun was swallowed up by the gray clouds. Caregiver Kelsi was able to grab this shot of him soaking up as much sun before it disappeared.

After Willy B went inside, we gave the Group of 7 access to Young’s Hill where first order of business was to patrol their area. Foxie was the first one to race out onto Young’s Hill, but Jody and Missy weren’t far behind.

After their patrol, the staff conducted some positive reinforcement training. Here, J.B. is asking Burrito to show him his foot.

Kelsi asked Negra to open her mouth to get a look inside.

And Anna is giving Jody a grape for showing her hand.

Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is an important tool for caregivers for medical purposes. It allows us to conduct a quick health overview of the individual or to inspect an extremity without the use of anesthesia. Though it is an important tool for us, the chimpanzees sometimes view it as a game.

The PRT session ended right as it began to rain. Listening to raindrops hit the window can drum up the desire to wrap yourself in a blanket, and take a nice afternoon nap. In Honey B’s case, replace “blanket” with “blanket fort.”

The chimpanzees were just served dinner and are enjoying their evening enrichment puzzle. Today’s puzzle is peanut butter in small containers. The idea is for the chimpanzees to fish out the peanut butter using a tool. In this case, Missy is using a chopstick. (My apologies for such a blurry photo.)

For extra stability, she used her foot to hold on the small container.

Foxie, on the other hand, bypassed using chopsticks and just used her fingers.

Now if you please pardon me, I hear raspberries being blown by a certain Burrito Chimpanzee, and I think it’s time for his nightly ice. Good night, everybody!

Reaching for New Heights

Today is absolutely a terrific day for many reasons. The weather is bright and sunny with temperatures near the 70s. Many of the seasonal birds are back and gleefully darting back and forth, grabbing what they can to make their perfect little nests for the Spring. The cattle are out grazing in their new pasture. And Willy B hit another milestone in his adventures outside.

You’re eyes are not deceiving you. Willy B made a couple of attempts to climb the outdoor structure. He is capable of climbing the structure in the Courtyard, however, it is still really new to him. He first would poke his head up to scan the platform for any food. When he noticed there wasn’t any up there, he would come back down and just sit. After the first initial scan for food, it seemed like his curiosity wasn’t about food anymore.

It seemed like he was determined to conquer any fear he may have had and want to be on the platform. However, today was not that day. After several attempts, he decided it was best to just sit in the open air Courtyard, and take in the scenery. This in itself was another big milestone. Willy B ventured out further than before, and stayed out longer with out constantly darting back to the safety of the Chute.

He also made attempts to walk on the grass multiple times today.

But his excursions onto the grass weren’t long.

He even performed a mini-display. We’re still not sure if he was hyping himself up for another attempt to climb, or to show his neighbors who is in charge of the Courtyard now.

To think of the places he has been in life, to now experience grass, open air, dirt, cattle neighbors, can be somewhat over stimulating and frightening for someone with a past like his. I truly admire Willy B’s spirit.

Willy B just has that kind of spirit. The spirit to take on new adventures and try new things in new surroundings.

And the determination to come out on top in the end at his own speed.

Hopefully, his confidence and sense of adventure will spread to Mave and Honey B soon so they can enjoy the wonders of their Washington home. Mave, just like yesterday, seemed like she’s hyping herself up to take that first step. It may be tomorrow. It may be next week. It may be a year from now. But that isn’t our call. There is no way to tell when either her or Honey B will be ready. The only thing we can do is try to show them it is safe and wonderful to be outside.

You can help us continue to provide care and a safe home for the 10 chimpanzees and four cattle by participating in Washington’s Give Big Fundraiser Drive. This is the first year we are eligible to participate in this annual drive, and we hope to make a big impact. The smallest donation can have the biggest impact for the 14 residents of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. So we hope you are able and willing to participate today or tomorrow.

What Friends Are For

As some of you have read yesterday, Foxie went through a medical exam. Going under anesthesia can take a lot out of a chimpanzee, but Foxie is fierce and strong despite her small stature. By the time dinner was ready yesterday, Foxie was up, alert, eating, and ready to go back to her family. We decided to keep her by herself overnight just in case. When we arrived to the sanctuary in the morning, it was clear she was more than ready to go back with the group.

The first person to greet her was Jody of course! And since then, they have almost virtually been inseparable.

Jody made sure that for most of the day, Foxie was within eyesight or earshot of Foxie. It’s hard to see, but if you look closely between the ladder and the pillar at the top of the platform, you can see a little fuzz of a shoulder. That’s Foxie! With Jody resting right below her of course!

Jody was available nearby in case Foxie needed her. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but Jody (front) is keeping an eye on Foxie (back).

Foxie and Jody have such as strong bond with one another. It’s one relatively not talked about much as say Missy and Annie. They continuously motivate each other, lookout for each other, and just genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

May you find yourself the Foxie to your Jody or the Jody to your Foxie in life.

Bonus photos of Annie performing her famous “bird calls” and Negra peering out onto Young’s Hill after hearing the cattle call for Anthony for their daily care.

A Post About Nothing

It’s a suspiciously quiet day here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. But with the chimpanzees here, being suspiciously quiet means they are usually napping in their favorite spots around the sanctuary, or grooming with their partner of choice. (So really not that suspicious.)

When he wasn’t outside in the Chute area, Willy B spent most of his day relaxing.

While also looking devilishly handsome, of course.

And when he wasn’t relaxing, he was grooming with Mave and Honey B.

Though Honey B participated in many grooming sessions with Mave and Willy B, she also spent a considerable amount of time outside in the Chute trying to either spy on her chimpanzee neighbors, or trying to catch a glimpse of the cattle on the pasture.

I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to get much photos today of the Group of Seven. Jamie was very adamant about me not taking photos of anybody while she was around. I was able to sneak this one of Missy though, after asking Missy if it was alright with her.