If this video doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will. Honey B continues to reveal more and more of her unique personality.
The rain today did not feel like a passing summer shower. It felt like summer’s end.
Besides the rain, many smaller changes have become evident this weekend. As the temperature dipped, the mountains shrouded themselves in chilly fog and gray drizzle. The larches are abandoning their greenish hue in favor of warmer tones. The bucks that inhabit the woods around the sanctuary are showing off their new antlers, while this spring’s fawns are losing their spots and grow more independent by the day. The tourists in nearby Roslyn are sporting flannels and hoodies, not sunglasses and flip flops (and our staff and volunteers had to say a sad goodbye to this year’s edition of the Roslyn Farmer’s Market). In neighboring Ellensburg, new students are flocking to campus to begin classes next week; a handful of them will compose our next cohort of interns starting at the end of this month. The air itself seems to call for coffeehouse folk music and pumpkin spice everything. Autumn has made its first appearance of its three-month residency.
Meanwhile, the chimps are embracing the cooler surroundings in their own way.
Jamie spent this morning huddled under a makeshift tent of blankets, taking in the crisp morning air and watching the caregivers go about their morning rounds. She even snoozed for a bit before breakfast (as did Annie, in the background).
Over in the new wing, things went similarly. Lately, the new three have been chilling out in the new archway tunnel almost constantly. However, today’s weather made the uncovered chute less appealing and the trio spent more time grooming and nesting in their sheltered indoor spaces. From her secluded corner in one of the bedrooms, Mave made sure to keep looking out the window at the surrounding pastures, passing rail cars and two-lane highway far below.
Because of the drizzle and dew, we only scattered a small portion of their lunch on Young’s Hill. Even so, the seven long-term residents made the best of the conditions and found all of the carrots and walnuts that Level II volunteer Dusty placed among the tall grass and wooden structures. Of all the chimpanzees, Annie seemed to enjoy foraging in the damp prairie grass, always watching her surroundings for potential competitors and new opportunities to obtain more food.
Today’s only drama was centered around corn. Erin and Miranda, two of our dedicated Level III volunteers, served breakfast and lunch, respectively. All went smoothly until Jamie decided to get upset every time one of the lower-ranking females received an ear of corn-on-the-cob. Either she was being possessive (likely) or she’s terrified of things on cobs (slightly less likely). She kept her eyes on everyone else while she munched on her own corn, as well as poor Foxie’s.
Annie, Foxie, and Missy all processed their remaining corn and potatoes with trepidation, frequently pausing to monitor Jamie’s expression.
Missy even had a swollen eye this morning. It was not a grievous wound by any means, but served as a potential artifact of recent conflict within their social group (Note: Missy didn’t seem to care and even made J.B. playfully chase her around the Hill in the rain).
Only Negra and Burrito were left out of the corn fiasco. Negra opted to sift through her chow bags from the safety of her fleece blankets, while Burrito spent more time gazing over at the adjacent tunnel and neighboring chimps.
Honey B, Mave, and Willy B arrived less than 30 days ago. If you’ve ever moved somewhere new, you know there’s an adjustment period where it takes some time to settle in and figure out how you fit with your new surroundings.
I would have expected this adjustment to be a pretty extended one for these three, given that they lived at Wildlife Waystation for 25 years.
I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb to say that Honey B is still gradually revealing herself to us. She was fairly reserved the first couple of weeks, seeming to just take it all in at her own pace.
She certainly is showing her curious side more. Today J.B. was working on the fence that will attach to the tunnel. He left some insulators hanging and walked away. Honey B immediately rushed over to see if she could reach them (she couldn’t).
Like Jamie, she is observant, smart, and can definitely be intense.
But today she was also incredibly playful with her new human friends, having them run from the inside to the outside. She also clapped vigorously to get my attention so I would come over for some grooming.
Mave is just that person that you want to be your best friend. She’s solid. She’s attentive to her chimpanzee friends and remains very chill about pretty much everything.
She’s also really different looking with her very freckled face and more square head. Her beautiful freckles contribute to her face having a triangular look.
And just look at those eyelashes. Sigh.
Willy B is classically handsome and proving himself to be a playful goof. He doesn’t appear as relaxed as Mave, but he also has not been too disturbed by Jamie displaying today; he just looked on with curiosity.
At breakfast, he was at the end of the tunnel eating primate chow watching Burrito who was in the greenhouse sitting down watching Willy B, also while eating chow. It was like they were having a friendly little bite together at a bit of a distance.
One of my favorite things about Willy B’s appearance is his long white beard.
It’s going to be such a joy to watch more pieces of their personalities reveal themselves over time. I think that having more friends will allow them to find out more about themselves too.
As promised, the Annie birthday extravaganza video is here! Annie just brings so much light into our lives. When I see Annie in the mornings running around with Missy all I can do is smile, in the afternoon when she is all sprawled out in a nest making sweet bird sounds it all but makes my heart smile. And did I forget to say how fashionable she is wearing her headbands as waistbands! I mentioned yesterday watching Annie become more comfortable in her own skin, becoming more brave, and bold everyday. That is what a sanctuary is about. Annie is safe, healthy, and letting her hair down, so to speak.
First, the photos that go along with the story in today’s blog are not going to win any awards. But the story is good, so I hope you’ll forgive my quick cell phone pics.
Second, if you are new to the sanctuary and the photos make you wonder why the chimps are in cages, please read this blog post that answers that very question!
Speaking of questions, I know there are SO MANY questions about how we are going to go about doing the introductions between the seven and the three. We still have a lot of questions ourselves that we have been mulling over. It’s daunting and scary and incredibly exciting all at the same time.
We’ve talked to a few different people who each have experience with hundreds (hundreds!) of introductions of chimpanzees, and each of them has a different general system they use and a philosophy behind it. On Tuesday, one of these very knowledgeable people, Amy Fultz from Chimp Haven, came out in person to talk to us about introductions. It worked out perfectly that she was here when the groups got the first good look at each other.
We are taking in all of this information and combining it with the data that Jake Funkouser recorded and analyzed of the social networks of the seven chimpanzees, and combining that with what we are observing of the new three and their interactions with the seven at a distance.
We also will let the chimpanzees dictate the process once we start. All that is to explain that we cannot share with you the step by step details before they happen because it’s not that kind of process and we are not there yet. We do plan to share details with you after the fact, though!
So, that brings me to today’s story about a connection/attraction between Willy B and Jody that is continuing to develop. It actually started before the three arrived at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. When J.B. and I were at Wildlife Waystation, we showed some videos of Jody to Willy B on my cell phone, and he immediately moved in to get a closer look, paying more attention to the Jody videos than videos of any of the other chimpanzees.
Now they get to see each other in person every day, and Willy B continues to show an interest in Jody. And now we can say that the interest is mutual.
This morning, Jody made a special foray onto the hill and stood up just to get a glimpse of Willy B who was at the end of the chute:
Willy B returned the glance:
When Jody was heading back into the greenhouse, Willy B climbed to the highest spot in the new chute to have the best view:
Jody noticed his new position, and climbed up high on the caging in the greenhouse and made a low moan vocalization. Jody is famous for her various low-moans, most of them associated with food, and all of them indicating that she is happy.
With Jody’s cute hand wave/reaching out that J.B. included in the video yesterday and today’s friendly overtures to Willy B, our predictions about Jody being inviting towards the newcomers seems spot-on, unlike our inaccurate predictions of how Burrito would react to the sight of unfamiliar chimpanzee people.
Burrito, by the way, continues to be obsessed with the new three and spends most his day hanging out by the windows just waiting for them to appear.
Can you imagine how strange and exciting it must be to see new chimpanzee strangers for the first time after over a dozen years?!
“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.” – Charles Dickens
Volunteers Miranda and Elizabeth prepared breakfast this morning, with the centerpiece being a pineapple-strawberry-protein smoothie. The chimps ate their raw fruit and then drank every last drop of the bright pink smoothie. Of course, we couldn’t just throw the prickly pineapple tops into the Vitamix and we didn’t want to toss them in the compost bucket, either. Because the weather was so pleasant this morning, we ended up hiding the pineapple tops out on Young’s Hill at lunch, along with a forage spread of beets, carrots and potatoes. The chimps gathered themselves (and their dolls) and headed out to forage with gusto.
Of all the chimps, Jody is known for her expertise as a forager. We predicted that she would find at least one of the hidden treasures among the grass.
Surprisingly, Annie was the first to find a pineapple (the one that had been placed on a structure in the middle of the Hill). She triumphantly carried it back down the slope to the Greenhouse.
Negra found the second one since it was hidden in her favorite spot (a straw-lined cabin ear the bottom of the slope). She also carted her pineapple and vegetables back to the shade and shelter of the Greenhouse.
Annie’s pineapple wasn’t hers for very long before Jody casually took it from her. Annie didn’t seem to mind, though.
Jody reclined on the lower deck and relished every spiny leaf of the pineapple top. She held it lovingly and slowly picked it apart.
Neggie was a bit more industrious. Her mechanical breakdown of the pineapple top was quick and purposeful. She ripped off each spine and chewed it to a pulp before spitting it on the deck below. She soon had a pile of peels and discarded wadges at her feet, then chomped into the juicy core.
Jamie was not interested in either pineapple, preferring to eat beets and supervise from afar.
Burrito, meanwhile, ate anything and everything that he could find.
If you are signed up to our e-newsletter, you received a link to this video of the journey that Mave, Honey B and Willy B took to get to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, but we know you want to watch it again and again.
Help welcome them home by participating in the Summer Biddin’ Online Auction!! It lasts just a few days, ending on Tuesday, September 3rd.