Honey B, like many other sanctuary chimpanzees, enjoys cleaning. Last week, we did a “deep clean” of one of her indoor enclosures and spent time scrubbing the track to the door that leads to the upstairs play area. Honey B watched us intently and later decided that the door track needed just a bit more work.
Today, we present the Fall in Love with Mave video (link above)! As you know by now, becoming a Pal to one the of the chimpanzees or bovines at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is one of the best ways to support their ongoing care. In the spirit of the day, we hope there are a few people out there who’d like to be Mave’s valentine by signing up to be her Pal.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day, the chimpanzee celebrated the day as they do most holidays – by stuffing themselves with delicious food. Today began with a special breakfast prepared by volunteer Patti, consisting of healthy waffles topped with peanut butter. Negra, as you can imagine, was thrilled. The new guys, on the other hand, weren’t sure what to make of this unusual Valentine’s day tradition. Honey B even returned her waffles to the waitstaff by pushing them back through the caging, but after trying them she excitedly asked us to pick them all up and hand them back to her. It’s a good reminder to always taste your food before sending it back to the kitchen.
Later in the day we set out forages of fresh fruits and veggies along with shots of fruit smoothie.
Negra (with Jody in the background):
Happy Valentine’s Day!
A few years ago we made ‘Fall in Love with” videos for all of the chimpanzees. Like right now, these videos were part of a February fundraiser highlighting the Chimpanzee Pal program. The videos are at the bottom of each of the chimpanzees‘ webpages.
The new three needed their own videos too!
So, I present to you: Fall in Love with Honey B (see video above).
This will be first Valentine’s Day that Honey B, Willy B, and Mave will be celebrating at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. They have a few pals right now, but sure could use some more. Chimpanzee Pal (and Bovine Buddy) sponsorships help pay for the daily operation of the sanctuary and the care we provide.
Many people choose to break up their donation and give monthly, and that means we know that those funds will be reaching the sanctuary on a regular basis, helping ensure the monthly bills are paid. We have lots of plans for the future, but the day to day is just as important.
Every day of sanctuary is something new for curious Honey B, and we are so grateful to those who contribute to her care and the care of all ten of the chimpanzees and the four cattle. You make a difference!
The Seven got off to an early start on Young’s Hill this morning, taking advantage of a short break in the near-constant rain we’ve been having this winter. Jamie took some of her breakfast to go, perhaps leading Missy to regret not saving any of her own.
Negra and Foxie waited for their neighbors to appear in the chute.
Missy and Burrito completed the first of many patrols.
Honey B, Willy B, and Mave continue to be enthralled with their new mirror. Honey B gazed at her reflection for a while this morning and later watched herself chew gum.
She managed to look dignified in all of the photos I took today, but the rest of the time she was making all of her human and chimpanzee friends laugh with her antics.
Willy B has been spending his time in front of the mirror investigating some teeth that appear to have gone missing.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the chimps have started to develop a new routine, the highlight of which is the pre-dinner display. Most of the chimps engage one another through the windows between the playroom and chute but Foxie has developed her own signature move, which involves pant hooting in front of the Howdy Door and then launching into a running double kick. After each kick, she listens intently for a response from the three on the other side of the wall. If she hears them, she screams and runs to her group mates for reassurance; if there’s no response, she launches another assault on the door.
While Foxie can work herself up into a frenzy this way, her friends don’t take her too seriously, as evidenced by Annie’s nonchalance.
Today was unseasonably warm. The girls took off shortly after breakfast for the first of many patrols.
Burrito, on the other hand, cursed the mild weather and set out to eat every last patch of snow before it was too late.
Recently, the Washington State Department of Transportation released an image from their camera on Sherman Pass that some say looks like Sasquatch. If I didn’t know any better, I might think it was Burrito in search of more snow.
One of highlights of each day for the chimps is the moment the two groups are “reunited” at a distance. During the colder months, the outdoor enclosures are closed off at night so they can only call back and forth to each other through the walls. But each morning they meet again, and the displaying and flirting can be intense.
Here, you can see Mave and Willy B entering the chute while the Cle Elum Seven emerge from the greenhouse onto Young’s Hill with the remains of their lunch.
Burrito, Jody, Jamie, and Missy:
Burrito, Jody, Foxie, Jamie, and Missy:
Foxie and Jamie (look how gray Foxie is getting!):
Negra and Foxie:
Eventually both groups begin to resume their normal activities, checking on each other from time to time until they eventually go to bed for the night. Tomorrow, we’ll go through the whole routine again.
Willy B is a thief.
Bear in mind, it’s a very minor blemish on his otherwise flawless character. And he’s certainly not the first chimpanzee in history to steal. But it is a problem.
At each meal, Willy B takes what is his and then helps himself to everyone else’s. You can get away with that when you are 175 pounds of muscle. But Honey B and Mave need to eat, too, and none of us need all that drama. While we could isolate Willy B in a separate room during meals, that could lead to pent up frustration and it would certainly be logistically challenging at times. This is where positive reinforcement training comes in.
For many years, we’ve used positive reinforcement training to encourage the chimps to cooperate with medical procedures. Those same techniques apply to husbandry challenges as well. The other day, Anthony built a moveable “target” just for Willy B. After being trained to orient towards and touch the target, Willy B is now learning to remain wherever the target is placed, a behavior known as stationing. Stationing allows us to create some distance between the chimps while they eat. At the same time, he’ll learn that he will be amply rewarded if he remains at his station the entire time and allows the girls to receive their food. Taken together, this is known as cooperative feeding. Mr. Dominant Chimp gets the special privileges he deserves and no one goes hungry. Everyone wins.
This is something I have come to love about working with chimpanzees. You can’t force them to do much of anything, so you are required to demonstrate a little patience and humility. I often visualize it as a choice between trying in vain to dam up a stream and slowly and methodically carving out a new path for the water to flow in a more favorable direction. One day I hope to put this lesson into practice in other areas of my life but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
On a side note, there may be a reason why Willy B was so quick to learn to station. On the other side of the Frisbee there is a pattern with a reflective surface in which he can catch glimpses of his own beautiful face.
Now we may need to train him to look away from his own reflection long enough to eat.
Willy B never seems to tire of playing with his slinky.