The video says it all. It was a relief to see Honey B with Rayne and Lucky today and with Dora yesterday. She was different with each one of them, and of course it wasn’t non-stop play, but the play was definitely the highlight!
Jamie is a chimpanzee who does not hide anything. She’s not shy. This was evident even the first time we met her at Buckshire before her group of seven came to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.
She doesn’t hold back when she has an opinion about something. She can be challenging (she’s the only chimpanzee at the sanctuary who throws feces, for example), but we all appreciate that she is not only able to express herself, but feels quite comfortable letting the humans know if she wants something or is displeased with us. When she likes something she REALLY likes it, and it’s a joy finding those things (like boot books), and being able to enrich her life in very specific-to-her ways.
Here’s a photo I took of the boss today:
Gordo, on the other hand, has been very aloof so far.
He arrived just one month ago from Wildlife Waystation, and we are still getting to know him and the other five in his group. We were told that he takes some time to warm up to new people, and so far he’s definitely the least interactive with the caregivers.
The other two males in his group, Terry and Cy, are usually front and center and wanting to play chase. Upon seeing the caregivers, Lucky will present her belly for rubs, Dora likes gentle games where she touches the back of our hands with her outstretched fingers, and Rayne is showing herself to be a fun-loving friend.
Gordo is very interested in food, so when serving meals has been the main opportunity to interact with him. He will take food from us without hesitation, but it’s normally a very one-way transactional interaction.
I feel no shame in admitting that I have been on a mission to win over Gordo. I make eye contact with him (eye contact with chimps is a good thing, though that’s not the case with some other primate species) and attempt to instigate games of chase whenever I can. Most captive chimpanzees, particularly males, really like to play chase.
Often, Gordo is against a wall in one of the new playrooms or in a doorway, observing at a distance. The photo below isn’t very good, but it shows Gordo in one of his spots with one leg crossed over the other – this, along with the full splay, is a classic Gordo pose.
I’ve noticed that he’s also been hanging out in the corner of the far greenhouse. Whenever I pass by, I stop to talk to him for a bit. Often I don’t get much of a response.
I was beginning to wonder if I was perhaps coming on too strong, when, last Saturday, Gordo did grant me a game of chase. It was wonderful. And brief.
Today, Kelsi and I were being goofy with the whole group, and Gordo joined in the fun! I don’t know if you can tell how elated Kelsi was in these photos, but let’s just say she’ll be riding this high for awhile.
When he was done playing with Kelsi, I caught his eye and went out to the greenhouse hallway. To my great surprise, he walked towards me. On purpose! And I didn’t have food!
It was a great moment to kick off my weekend.
Thank you, Gordito.
I have to really hand it to J.B. for his greenhouse design and Gary from Sage Mechanical for putting it all together plus adding some special touches.
These new greenhouses are truly a chimp’s dream.
Yesterday was the first day that I was cleaning in one of the new playrooms with the new group of six chimpanzees on the other side of the windows in a greenhouse. I snapped some quick photos on my phone through the window to give you a sense of the chimpanzees’ perspective.
All of the new six like to take advantage of the vertical space and can often be found up high on the benches at the edges of the greenhouse. There are some great spots to observe the neighbors.
Cy even took a minute away from his magazines to watch Willy B in the Courtyard today:
At Wildlife Waystation, the indoor space for the chimpanzees was much smaller than at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, and they spent most of their time in their concrete-floored, chain-link fenced space. We were all pleasantly surprised that they walked on the grass in their new greenhouse habitats right away. The grass is an experiment for us in these new spaces, one that so far is working well.
Though there are many differences, the greenhouses are probably most similar to what they are used to at Wildlife Waystation. During the day, there is usually at least one chimpanzee out there, and sometimes all six of them are in one greenhouse or another. During their first week they were in the greenhouses well after we had closed up for the night.
Last night around 7:30, I was outside wandering around. The sanctuary property was full of activity. There was a doe grazing in the pasture near Young’s Hill. The bovine family had gotten up from their daytime shady spot and they too were spending the cooler evening hours grazing. Ground squirrels and the occasional marmot were scurrying about, always in a hurry. The cliff swallows that have taken over the eaves of the new addition to the chimp house were soaring and dropping and diving, undoubtedly getting their dinner of insects.
As I approached the chimp building, however, there wasn’t even the hint of anyone stirring. I walked around the outside of the fence behind the new greenhouses and did not see a soul.
It made me feel disappointed for a fleeting moment, because it’s nice to see the chimps among the bamboo and logs and grass, with the sky as the backdrop, but then I smiled. Sometimes I even have to remind myself that it’s not about what I want or what I think they should be doing; it’s about giving them choices and letting them figure out what they want.
I pictured all six of them–Cy, Lucky, Gordo, Terry, Rayne, and Dora–sleeping soundly in their nests made of blankets and paper, in the special spot they chose for themselves, indoors in the new playrooms, perhaps with a newfound sense of safety and security.
Hey everyone! It’s been a long week so far.
For one thing, the scorching heat is r e l e n t l e s s .
Today brought record-setting temperatures to Oregon and Washington. Tomorrow will have more of the same. For comparison, it’s hotter than Guy Fieri’s wardrobe over here.
For actual quantitative reference, tomorrow’s forecast shows Cle Elum being 110 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than it’s ever been in the state of Florida (109F).
That’s correct. Our town nestled among the snow-capped Central Cascades will have higher temperatures than they’ve EVER HAD on ANY DATE in FLORIDA. It will also be hotter than it’s ever been in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and at least fifteen other U.S. states and territories. Tomorrow would be the hottest day ever in Washington… if we hadn’t already broken that record today.
To cope, our staff has been closely monitoring the doors and windows, cranking all the electric fans, and consuming a steady stream of popsicles, sports drinks, and good ol’ fashioned water. As all the smart people say, hydrate to dominate, baby!
Despite the sweltering heat, we’re excited to report that all SIXTEEN chimpanzee residents are doing well, staying hydrated, and keeping cool. Of course, those sixteen residents include the six newest arrivals: Cy, Dora, Gordo, Lucky, Rayne and Terry.
This group of adult chimps has been called “The Lucky Six” during the campaign to send them to sanctuary, but we’ll also likely refer to them as “Cy’s Group” since he seems to be their undisputed chief. While our own medical and caregiving records have less mutable designations for each group (e.g., Group C), it will be nice to have an informal and familiar way to specify which group we’re talking about.
We’re still getting to know the six chimps in Cy’s group, but it’s already evident that they all have unique personalities and complex social dynamics. As is tradition, we’ll be shining a virtual spotlight on each individual over the next few months so that you can all get to know them as well. In case you missed it, Kelsi announced their arrival and posted a few portraits on Saturday, and Katelyn followed up with more photographs in yesterday’s post (which was dedicated to those who cared and advocated for the six newcomers at their previous home). For now, we’ll continue to share what we can on the blog when we’re not busy taking care of chimps!
For today’s blog, I threw together a video using clips that our staff have recorded over the past few days. We look forward to sharing more in the near future, so please stay tuned and be patient! The new guys are amazing and we can’t wait to tell you more about them!
Today, I decided to share some “leftover” photographs of Mave’s birthday celebration that didn’t make it into earlier posts!
On Thursday, we threw a bash to commemorate Mave’s 32nd trip around the sun. The party- planned to perfection by Chad, the sanctuary’s Enrichment Coordinator- featured whole coconuts, giant banana leaves, pineapple bowls, and massive heads of iceberg lettuce. Anna posted and amazing video from the event on Thursday, and Diana shared another fun clip on Saturday of Honey B enjoying the sandbox well after the party!
Now, here are some still images to complement their media coverage of the festivities. Enjoy!
Mave immediately grabbed a coconut and ran away to devour it in peace.
Then, Mave also annihilated an entire pineapple stuffed with iceberg lettuce.
Honey B preferred to drink her coconut by the pool.
(Sadly, I didn’t get any good photos of Willy B because he was running around scarfing down all the lettuce and stomping on coconuts.)
On the other side of the building, the neighboring group of chimps had an equally amazing birthday bash in honor of Mave. Since they can hear and see each other, it would be unfair to leave them out of the fun, and they seemed to appreciate all the same appetizers, entrées, and desserts.
Jody, forager extraordinaire, swiftly grabbed a coconut and then went back out for peppers afterward.
Annie found a coconut and loudly slurped all the liquid from inside. The sound was kind of gross, to be honest, but it was funny that we could hear it from 100 feet away.
Missy went after the lettuce, but had to acknowledge Jamie before she could run away and eat it all in privacy.
Negra’s strategy was to chase everyone else and beg them for food. It works sometimes.
Foxie “flew under the radar” during this forage. She was barely visible as she ate iceberg lettuce atop a distant platform.
After displacing Missy from her perch on the Treat Rock, Jamie harvested a bunch of coconuts, iceberg and peppers. Even though she paused to sip on a coconut, she had a hard time carrying it all back into the Greenhouse.
Burrito’s manner of transporting lettuce and coconuts made us all chuckle. At one point, he gave up trying to hold it all and just kicked his coconut downhill towards the Greenhouse.
Thank you to everyone who sponsors chimps, donates items, follows and engages with our online media and supports the sanctuary! Once again, you facilitated another memorable birthday party for Mave and her companions.
As you can see, I “caught” Honey B in the sandbaox when I turned the corner. I love how many different things she tries with the sand.
For you blog readers, who are invested in the sanctuary on a deeper level than those who might just see a video we post on social media once in a while, I’m curious to hear your reaction to the statement I included within the video.
We are always discussing how to put sanctuary life into context and attempting to avoid inadvertently sending the wrong message about “cute” chimpanzees that might elicit the desire to own primates as pets. I refer you to this post by Anthony from over a year ago.
We’re really glad this issue is coming up more and more in our field, and I’m sure we will be reconsidering things we’ve posted in the past and doing more of these explanations within our posts, like we do on Instagram now too. Let us know your thoughts!
I hope you all were able to take the time to dig into something new today too, like Honey B.
If you haven’t already, check out the beginning of our online auction and don’t forget to tune in to the virtual Queen’s Brunch event in just a couple of weeks on June 13th!