She’s really smart.
This morning, as I was putting away a squeegee, I accidentally knocked a broom off of the tool rack. I watched it slide to within inches of the playroom caging and before my brain could finish processing the thought that Jamie might be able to grab it, Jamie grabbed it.
Now, the most important thing to convey here is that Jamie really likes to stab and/or threaten to stab humans when she obtains contraband like this. So the first thing you do in this situation is take a big step back. Then you watch helplessly as she tries to knock smoke detectors off the ceiling (a real possibility) and jimmy open every door and window in the chimp house (not going to happen with a broom stick, thankfully).
But today was different. As soon as she had the broom she walked off with clear purpose and intent. And the whole gang gathered behind her as if Jamie had given the cue and the secret plan they had been hatching for weeks was finally called into action.
Their mission: To see inside the new addition.
We’ve given them glimpses into the new quarantine and introduction area connected to their playroom before, but during the construction process we’ve largely kept the door covered with a piece of plywood to protect workers from getting spit on and to keep the building heat in. Clearly we didn’t consult the chimps about that plan, and they were forced to take the matter into their own hands.
Jamie may be one of the fastest and strongest chimps in her group, but why work so hard when you don’t have to?
Today is sponsored by Kenneth Epstein in honor of Nicki Walters and in memory of her husband, Bill “Twister” Walters, on his birthday. Kenneth shared this message about today:
“Nicki Walters honored her husband Bill by sponsoring the chimps on his birthday. That beautiful gesture of love inspired me and many of their friends and family to share their love of the chimps. So much so that the Twister structure was built the following year in Bill’s honor. We lost Bill to cancer a few months later but he got to see the chimps play on the structure named after him. While we miss Bill we know that nothing would make him happier than knowing that the chimps are partying in his honor.”
We at CSNW are so thankful for the generosity of Bill, Nicki, and their family and friends. The chimpanzees continue to receive so much joy from their wonderful gift of the “Twister” structure! This morning as the chimps ventured out onto the Hill, Missy raced up the Twister as Jamie and Annie watched from below. When Missy started to climb down from the top she began to do somersaults all the way down, from firehose to firehose! We’ve never seen her do this before! It continues to be a favorite lookout for Jamie to oversee her home, especially during the long summer evenings. The joy the Twister has brought to the chimps is unforgettable, just like Bill.
CSNW had a very busy Sunday! Old friends visiting, our wonderful interns taking ID tests (and killing it!), materials being dropped off from the Chimpanzee and Human Communicate Institute, and of course cleaning. Jamie also received a new pair of boots yesterday, which she is very happy about. In the morning after I gave the chimps access to Young’s Hill, Jamie sprinted through the raceway very pilo and very excited for us to put the boots on and walk around the Hill! Young’s Hill was a hot commodity this morning. It felt like a warm spring day and the chimps were all about it! But at last the cold breeze came and it went back and forth between almost a rain storm and being sunny. The chimps enjoyed their sun while they could and Jamie persevered as usual being the amazing person she is. Here are a collection of photos throughout the day:
Missy ripping around the Hill this morning:
Missy waiting for Annie:
Later Annie & Missy basked in the sun, grooming and playing with each others toes:
Jamie our fierce leader:
Missy was backing Jamie up on the Hill, helping with surveillance:
Jody was the gate keeper waiting for everyone to get in safely:
Foxie spending some time with her doll:
Tool use was once thought to be a defining characteristic of the human species.
Jamie gets a special kind of pleasure from trying to destroy things that I have just repaired.
We all know by now that chimpanzees are really smart. And, if you are familiar with Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, you know that boss Jamie chimpanzee often shows off her intellect. Sometimes she even impresses those of us in the know, however.
Case in point: the other day I was doing a perimeter walk with Jamie and she turned back to gather two big tumbleweeds. At first I wasn’t sure what she was doing – she doesn’t usually pick up tumbleweeds on our walks. Plus they were rather awkward to carry. They kept slipping out of her hand as they scraped against the ground, but, each time, she would pick them back up and continue the walk.
At one point she stood up bipedally and put one of the tumbleweeds in her mouth for easier carrying. She also took a good long look at the boots I was wearing, and I became clued in to her plans.
When the walk was complete, I met her and her tumbleweeds in the greenhouse. Jamie pulled up the big black tub to sit on.
And then she proceeded to alter one of the tumbleweeds to her liking:
Once she was satisfied with her tool, she pushed it through the caging and began to groom the boot I was wearing (which, of course, she had picked out prior to our walk).
Imagine the forethought that it took for her to go through the process of seeing an unruly tumbleweed well before the walk was finished to the grooming session that she imagined would happen minutes later. She’s one smart cookie!