As Anna mentioned yesterday, the humans are hard at work getting ready for our new arrivals. The quarantine area is almost done, with just a few items remaining on our punch list. The big project we’re working on now is the installation of an overhead chute that will connect the indoor quarantine enclosures to an extension of Young’s Hill. This will accomplish two things: First, it will give the new chimps a way to get some fresh air while they’re still under strict quarantine, which prohibits sharing access to the existing enclosures for health reasons; and second, it will provide the new chimps with a way to access Young’s Hill after quarantine but before they are fully integrated into the existing group. This second point is important, because successful introductions are never guaranteed and even successful intros can stretch on for many months.
The reason for elevating the chute is to maintain access for people and equipment around the building, something that gets trickier as sanctuaries grow and get more complex. Plus, chimps just seem to love overhead chutes.
The team behind the project is led by Gary McInnis of Sage Mechanical (pictured above with a section of the new chute outside his workshop). We were first introduced to Gary through our good friend Ozzie at Spencer Fluid Power, who generously donated a hydraulic unit to power the chimp doors we inherited from the former Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. Gary visited the sanctuary with Ozzie last fall to help advise us and before long he had offered to donate all of the labor and materials required to hook up the doors. He then asked about the caging we were building and offered to do that job for 25% less than the lowest bid we receive. All told, Sage Mechanical has donated $35,000 worth of materials and labor this year to help us create a home for Honey B, Willy B, and Mave. It’s rare for us to get to work with a group as generous and committed to the sanctuary as Gary and his team.
While the humans are working hard to get everything ready, the chimps are free to do as they please. For Missy and Annie, that often means playing. For Negra, it usually means a good nap. But once and a while she will get a little playful, as you can see in the video above.