Lately, Jamie’s been taking a page out of Negra’s book and spending a lot of time covered up.
Jody has been making lots of great nests lately. It’s amazing that even after decades of deprivation, she is such an accomplished and enthusiastic nest-maker!
J.B. and I were just outside and we spied a chimpanzee -form on top of the climbing structure in the outdoor area after all of the caregivers left for the evening. Normally the chimps tend to bed down right after dinner and are pretty well settled by the time the caregivers leave at night, and we’ve rarely seen anyone settling outside. I figured that the indoors might just feel safer, but I’ve been hoping that, after time, the outdoor area might also feel like a safe place to sleep.
When we got closer, we could tell that it was Jamie. She was lying down on her stomach and had a sheet completely covering everything but her head. She looked at us casually, but with no interest in getting up. Next to her on the platform was the boat bumper that she had apparently pulled up there earlier today. Maybe Jamie decided it was a good night for a camp out in her own personal tree house.
I took these photos a couple of weeks ago. When J.B. posted the video of Jamie nesting, I remembered I had them. It’s pretty unusual to see Jamie actually sleeping. She is so active and watchful that I often joke that she never sleeps.
But when the nest calls…
Most chimpanzees that have been raised by humans have trouble negotiating the chimpanzee social world. Jamie is lucky; she somehow managed to escape a decade in entertainment and two decades in research with a pretty good understanding of how to be a chimpanzee. That understanding, combined with her cleverness and strength, has helped her become the most dominant chimpanzee in her group.
But she has not left behind the human world that she grew up in. Jamie craves human attention. Usually this is positive, such as when she plays or grooms with her caregivers. Other times its negative, like when she “hazes” new volunteers to be sure they know their place. But sometimes she simply wants to be near people. Today, while I played with Foxie, Jamie came down the stairs and into the front rooms with some sheets. She quietly made a nest next to me and fell asleep.
I envy chimps for their ability to clasp their feet together when they are resting.
Negra built a beautiful nest this morning from a brand new bale of straw. After settling in, she looked pretty content.
On Saturday, the night of the Cle Elum Seven’s one year anniversary, Jackie and I were hanging out with the chimps after dinner and we witnessed two amazing things. I do not have photographic evidence of these events, but I was so glad that Jackie was there to also see them.
First, long after the other chimpanzees had finished eating, Jamie was still hanging onto a bit of cantaloupe. Jamie seemed content to delay finishing her fruit as she carefully inspected Jackie’s boot. After several minutes, Foxie came over. There were probably a dozen troll dolls that were part of the party enrichment, and Foxie had three of them with her, one that still had on a wedding dress. Foxie put this troll doll in Jamie’s free hand, while looking away. Foxie continued to hold onto the troll doll until Jamie’s fingers closed around the doll. Then Foxie pulled her hand away and very slowly and carefully took the cantaloupe that was sitting by Jamie. If you’re a regular blog reader, you know that Jamie is pretty possessive of her food, and she is the highest ranking chimpanzee. This means that other chimps, as a rule, generally do not take food from Jamie. But this really appeared to be a trade. Apparently troll dolls served as a version of currency between these two!
The second equally amazing thing that occurred also involved Foxie. Jackie and I were handing out blankets in the front rooms, and Foxie took one through the fencing. This in itself is a bit unusual, but not unheard of – sometimes she’ll playfully take blankets or clothes, and then drop them. Every once in a while she’ll play a quick game of tug of war. But Foxie took this blanket (a very big fleece one) and eventually climbed up to the bed in Room Four and began to nest!! The blanket was long and hanging off of the bed, and Jamie immediately came into the room and began to pull on the end hanging down. Foxie’s played for a bit, at one point trying to still nest by wrapping the blanket around her, while Jamie continued to pull on the blanket. After a while Foxie dropped the blanket and Jamie left. Then Foxie got up and walked into Room 2, passing several blankets along the way, and picked up a pink one. She carried the pink blanket back to the far room, went back to the bed, laid the blanket down, and laid down on top of it.
It was a beautiful sight to see, and so special that it happened one year to the day after she arrived at the sanctuary. I’m so excited for what year two will bring!!