There is no one in the world like Honey B. She has so many different layers to her personality. She certainly has her mother’s charm and athletic ability. Missy loves making her caregivers run around the whole sanctuary while she only has to move a few steps. Missy as we all know is lightning fast. These traits may be genetically ingrained into Honey B. Honey B is FAST and on top of being quick, she has a thing for making her caregivers run around the entire building. Her preference is that we run inside, outside, up, down, back, forth, and through a construction site! If Honey B was a trainer she would be tough, but you would see results. Between Honey B’s workout routine and Burrito’s hill sprints you can see why we caregivers are out of breath and exhausted by the end of the day!
Burrito is the best kind of distraction. This video of Burrito doing a headstand and rolling in paper is a perfect example. He can certainly entertain himself, but it’s hard to get any work done around here! He is always getting someone to play with him, human or non-human. Just ask Chad!
The weather today was amazing. And it looks like it’s only going to get better. We have been trying to take advantage of this weather, so we did a lunch forage again!
Missy was very pleased when she found a head of lettuce!
Burrito had his hands full of tomatoes and lettuce.
This was such a sweet moment, Missy giving Jody reassurance.
Jamie with a beautiful troll scarf.
This is how I found Mave this morning :).
Now I shall leave you with one last photo of sweet Negra.
Kelsi and I were cleaning the playroom this morning when Jamie got Kelsi’s attention and requested a walk (we’ve learned to read Jamie’s behavior pretty well, and she’s insistent until we figure out what she wants). It’s not unusual for Jamie to want to pull someone from cleaning to do her bidding. That’s what sanctuary is all about, right?
When Kelsi came back from the patrol around Young’s Hill, she was grinning – I could tell even with her mask on. She said she got some great video of Missy and Burrito playing while patrolling.
She was not wrong! It was a joy putting this video together.
Later in the day, during a lunch forage, Missy and Foxie scaled Negra’s Cabin at the same time (Burrito down below).
Foxie made it to the very top and secured some beets before climbing back down to where she had left her doll.
Soon enough, they were both off doing their own things separately.
Here’s a bonus photo of Spring Queen Negra:
On the other side of the building, Willy B laid down on the boardwalk, just as he did yesterday, soaking in the sun and taking cat naps. Spring is good!
Foxie, also known as Tiny, loves her teeny tiny troll dolls. Whenever she gets one her eyes light up! I am not sure what it is about Foxie holding her teeny tiny friends but it warms my big heart, probably because they are so small and it makes her so happy. It really is the little things in life ;).
Please enjoy these photos of Foxie with her teeny tiny friends.
I wanted to share a bonus photo of Jamie. It was just too good not to share. Yesterday, I found Jamie in a nest having some fun with three different pieces of enrichment.
This is a photo of Jamie’s nest after she left. Now, just imagine with me! Jamie is still in this nest playing with that toy, right foot in the rainbow sweatband, and boot in her pelvic pocket. It was pretty great!
Most mornings are notorious for some sweet greetings, kisses, sleepy chimps not quite ready to get out of bed, and goofy play sessions. It’s often you will find Negra nestled in her nest with blankets still over her. While you can hear Missy and Annie lightly thumping around upstairs grabbing each other’s toes and laughing. Burrito if he is not already playing with Jody or someone, will insist on playing right away! Jody gives you a gentle kiss or asks for a knuckle rub. Foxie tosses you her doll. I tend to find the three as morning people. By the time we unlock their side of the building they are already out of their nests and ready to go, waiting for us to greet them. Honey B, Willy B, and yes Mave too are eager to play most mornings. Though I don’t want to give you the wrong idea, there are a lot of mornings that are not calm and sweet like what I just described above. However, there are many quiet moments you can catch in the morning before all the hustle and bustle starts. This morning had many of those moments I described, including Mave and Willy B having a great morning play session. They actually started upstairs before I had even unlocked the phase one side. I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch it on camera in time, but I also expected Willy B would get distracted and stop playing all together. I couldn’t ruin a good time, so I decided to not disturb them. When they came, downstairs and kept playing, I slyly tried to film them. Chimp laughter might be one of my favorite sounds in the world. If you haven’t watched the video yet, make sure your volume is on!
I wasn’t able to snap a lot of photos today. I was able to capture Mave eating her night bag and a glamour shot of Honey B!
While we cleaned the playroom this morning, the Seven spent some time bonding on the Greenhouse platform. The chimps probably came together up top because it was warmer up there, but they may have realized that if they wanted to groom as a group they’d better gather around the immovable lump that is Negra. She’s happy to be groomed as long as it doesn’t involve getting out of bed. It may look like Foxie was excluded but individuals often tag out for brief periods only to tag back in later.
After cleaning was finished, the staff got together to discuss plans for enrichment in the new playrooms and greenhouses.
We consulted Mave first. It’s her house, after all. She just said to make sure there were lots of socks.
The climbing structures are starting to take shape. You can see the platforms, which will soon be filled in with composite decking, and some of the various branches. Later we’ll add fire hose vines and hammocks.
The playroom is split down the middle (with a double cage wall up above and a human hallway below) to accommodate two groups during introductions or, if necessary, on a permanent basis, so each side gets its own tree as well as its own set of stairs (for us humans and our elderly chimp friends).
With the playrooms nearing completion we’re excited to turn our attention to the greenhouses, which we plan to complete by the end of April. We’re looking forward to seeing the Three swing throughout the new spaces.
Chimps are pretty rough on their toys so strict quality control is important.
Case in point: Burrito was upside down and sideways all day on the caging and structures while playing with his caregivers.
Even though we filled up a stock tank with snow in the greenhouse, Burrito asked that Diana fetch him a fresh snow ball or two from just outside the door. Snow apparently tastes better when it is freshly hand-rolled by the artisan snow ball makers on staff.
And while he ate them, he tickled Diana’s hands with his toes.
While Burrito and Diana played, Missy decided it was time to head into the playroom and make a nest, so she grabbed an armful of blankets and headed for the door. But first she had to grab herself a snow snack.
Someone recently donated two cardboard forts for the chimpanzees. Mave and Willy B had a really good time playing in and destroying theirs yesterday, while the group of seven left theirs intact to see another day. It’s hard to tell in the photo below, but these are big forts – big enough for a chimpanzee to fit inside.
This morning as we were just opening up the chimp house, Foxie was in the room with the fort, just walking past it. We both did a double-take when we heard some rustling and what sounded like knocking coming from inside. I’m not much of a morning person, so I wasn’t 100% sure of what I heard. But then out popped Burrito!
It reminded me of two things: First, this is my kind of humor. I remember years ago I hid inside a brand new garbage can to surprise a friend. I think it was a lot funnier to me than my friend. Second, also years ago, I did my masters thesis on play initiation in chimpanzees, specifically five chimpanzees who were living at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University (the two chimpanzees who are still living from that group, Tatu and Loulis, now live at the Fauna Foundation in Quebec).
Gathering data for my thesis was a joy because I spent hours watching videotapes (yes, actual videotapes – I told you it was years ago) of chimpanzees playing. From what I recall, most of the instances of play initiation were between friends Moja and Tatu, and I remember more than one instance of Tatu hiding behind a wall and then jumping out at Moja when she walked past, with a raucous game of chase ensuing.
We witness the chimpanzees initiate play all of the time here at the sanctuary, and often the initiator is Burrito. He’s a very funny and fun-loving guy with his human and chimpanzee friends.
Even when he’s spending time alone, he seems to amuse himself. While we were cleaning the playroom, I looked into the greenhouse and saw Burrito sitting in a box eating breakfast leftovers. He had pulled his scooter up next to him.
Without a doubt, humor has gotten me through some otherwise tough times and made good times even better. Maybe joke-telling or sharing humorous thoughts is the human equivalent of initiating play. I think that’s how I will think of it now.