This video speaks for itself. Take a look at Jamie nine years ago and today.
To celebrate the Eighth Anniversary of the chimps’ arrival to the sanctuary, we’re taking a quick trip down memory lane. Click here to read about Year One.
As the chimps entered their second year in sanctuary, their physical and emotional transformations were becoming ever more apparent. When they first arrived, their hair was sparse, their skin was pale, and their muscles were atrophied. These early photos of Jamie speak volumes.
Some bore not just the scars of experimentation, but also indelible, haunting reminders of their traumatic pasts in the form of prominent identification tattoos. Jamie was CH-522.
To our great relief, the tattoos became harder and harder to see as their bodies recovered from years in that windowless basement. By Year Two, their hair had begun to grow in, their skin had darkened, and their faces – once frozen and nearly expressionless – were overflowing with personality.
As Diana mentioned in her Year One post, our resources were extremely limited in those early days. With our goal of freeing the chimps from that laboratory basement accomplished, we set our sights on improving their sanctuary home as best we could. Thanks to support from our amazing donors and volunteers, we were able to convert the chimps’ modest outdoor area into a four-season, convertible greenhouse so that they could bask in warm sunlight even on the coldest winter days:
With their bodies healed and their sanctuary home upgraded, the chimps did what happy chimps do best – play! It was amazing to watch them throw off the weight of all those decades in the lab.
When I was gathering photos the other day for the Share the Chimp Love Video, I came across the photo below of Jamie and gasped out loud.
I think it’s been a few years since I saw this image, but it’s very familiar. It was taken in September of 2008, three months after the chimpanzees arrived to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. J.B. posted it to the blog back then.
It was one of the best photo portraits we had of Jamie, and we even used it for some early postcards that we made.
But looking at it now, it’s just not the Jamie of today.
Her cheeks were hollow and her eyes sunken. Her freckles were more pronounced – maybe because they hadn’t darkened from sun exposure yet. And the look in her eyes just wasn’t the determined, curious Jamie that we now know and love.
Compare that before photo with the one I included in the Share the Chimp Love Video, taken last summer:
Or these that I took this morning of Jamie getting the most out of a new book: