I didn’t have a blog post planned for today. Sometimes when I’m in this blank-slate situation, I look back on the blog at previous years of the same date to see what was happening in the hopes of inspiring an idea.
I chose January 15, 2019 to find out what was up. It was a literal walk down memory lane. Then staff caregiver/now volunteer caregiver Elizabeth gave an immersive behind-the-scenes view into what a morning was like at the sanctuary. The post featured then staff caregiver/now Chimp House Manager Anna with a supporting role from then intern/now Veterinary Assistant Sofía.
Elizabeth described the medical clinic trailer, explaining that it would soon be replaced by the stationary clinic that was a big part of the first phase of the expansion at the sanctuary.
Some things haven’t changed a bit from that post three years ago. Like then, the first thing the lead caregiver does is greet the chimps and work through a brief checklist while breakfast is being prepared. Negra can still almost always be found huddled under a pile of blankets.
Some things have changed a lot, though.
Burrito no longer displays every morning, but that’s not to say that he’s completely mellowed out. Today we witnessed a conflict where he swung and ran throughout his side of the building and chased after Foxie with an impressive amount of agility, determination, and energy (conflicts are a part of chimp life and everyone is fine).
The biggest change, of course, is the number of chimpanzees in this house.
Mave, Willy B, and Honey B arrived in August, five months after that 2019 blog post was written, and Lucky, Cy, Gordo, Rayne, Dora and Terry arrived in June 2021, almost seven months ago from today.
The building has expanded accordingly, with many more spaces for the new chimpanzees to enjoy and for the humans to clean up every day after they’ve been thoroughly enjoyed.
The new playrooms and greenhouses really are chimpanzee playgrounds, but it is quite challenging to get good photos of the chimps immersed in them.
Chimpanzees appreciate being up high, and their spaces were built with that in mind. Rayne in particular spends a lot of her time on the “leaves” of the artificial trees in the playroom.
Dora and Rayne were high up grooming on one of the leaves this afternoon. Normally, I would delete photos like the ones below, but I’m presenting them to show how difficult it is to get good photos of the chimps in these enriching spots.
Meanwhile, Honey B was inviting me to a game of chase in her greenhouse, where, despite the feet of snow outside, the grass and bamboo are still green.
I had to physically count on my fingers to verify that 2019 was just three years ago and to take a moment to appreciate all that supporters of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest have made possible. I’m in awe.
Included in this post is the featured (top) photo of Honey B that I also took today to demonstrate that the camera and the camera person is capable of taking a decent photo.
If the chimpanzees choose to be in private spots of their home that we can’t quite reach with our cameras, that’s okay with us. We can all be certain, even without frequent photographic evidence, that they value every aspect of their home that’s been carefully designed and built to chimpanzee specification.