Posts tagged chimpanzee

Tatu and Loulis enjoying the last few summer tomatoes. 
Tatu et Loulis qui savourent les quelques dernières tomates du jardin. #faunafoundation #tatu #loulis #chimpanzee #lastdaysofsummer

Tatu and Loulis enjoying the last few summer tomatoes.
Tatu et Loulis qui savourent les quelques dernières tomates du jardin. #faunafoundation #tatu #loulis #chimpanzee #lastdaysofsummer

Recreating the classic ball-pit for the chimpanzees! I think Chance approves! 
Nous avons installé une piscine de balles pour les chimpanzés. Chance approuve. #faunafoundation #chimpanzee #chance #ballpit #fun #sanctuary

Recreating the classic ball-pit for the chimpanzees! I think Chance approves!
Nous avons installé une piscine de balles pour les chimpanzés. Chance approuve. #faunafoundation #chimpanzee #chance #ballpit #fun #sanctuary

Guess who? Devinez qui? #faunafoundation #sanctuary #chimpanzee #blankets #cuddle #lazysundays

Guess who? Devinez qui? #faunafoundation #sanctuary #chimpanzee #blankets #cuddle #lazysundays

A little tropical snack in the afternoon.

A little tropical snack in the afternoon.

The chimpanzees really love receiving gifts from their friends! Todays treats……jumbo peanuts!!!
Les chimpanzés adorent reçevoir des cadeaux de leurs amis. Les gâteries de la journée… arachides géantes!!! #faunachimps #rachel #toby #chimpanzee #donations #thankyou

The chimpanzees really love receiving gifts from their friends! Todays treats……jumbo peanuts!!!
Les chimpanzés adorent reçevoir des cadeaux de leurs amis. Les gâteries de la journée… arachides géantes!!! #faunachimps #rachel #toby #chimpanzee #donations #thankyou

Tatu and Loulis: Happy 1st Anniversary at Fauna!

On August 28th we celebrated our first Anniversary with Tatu and Loulis! My, oh my, what a year it has been! 

Last month I said goodbye to Mary Lee one more time after her summer visit to Fauna. But this time, it was very different. Although I knew she was leaving and would be missed, it would only be for a short while because this September Mary Lee will be back to stay!

Mary Lee’s dedication to continue doing the work she was doing at the University and her commitment to her long time friends, Tatu and Loulis, will bring her here to Canada this fall to carry on with the sign language, communication and behavioral studies.  But most of all, she will be back with her old friends!

Mary Lee brings with her such a vast knowledge of chimpanzee behaviors, skills in American Sign Language and so much more. We are truly blessed to have her join us here. With her calm, sensible ways and her voice of reason, will we all look forward to seeing Mary Lee here everyday.

It is also deeply important for Tatu and Loulis to have this relationship continue. Although Mary Lee’s frequent visits were always welcome by the two chimpanzees, we are very aware of their ages and how suddenly they can be taken from us. Each day spent with them is to be cherished and enjoyed. I for one would want Mary Lee to be here should either Tatu or Loulis get ill or find themselves at the end of their lives. Knowing she will be here permanently is a great comfort, both for myself and for my family, and I know it is for Mary Lee as well. Right now Tatu and Lou are very healthy, so hopefully they will be with us all for a long while. Thank-you to the Board of Friends of Washoe for making this move happen, both for Fauna and Mary Lee.

This year has been a tough one in so many ways and yet a completely wonderful one as well… 

The first days for Tatu and Lou were indeed a struggle with so many changes, including some that were quite frightening; new neighbours not always on their best behavior and a new way of living, it must have been very scary for them indeed.

In the beginning it is always interesting, just like it is going on vacation. We adapt to new and different ways and cultures. But even on vacation there comes a point we just really need to get back home to our routine and our familiar way of life.

For Tatu and Lou it seemed like this too. After the first very stressful week, Tatu was so depressed and disappointed, and Lou was so nervous and scared. Then, once those first weeks were over, certain things started to be interesting and fun and Tatu and Loulis were enjoying some of the new changes in their lives. However, soon after that, they seemed to need things the way they used to be. We had anticipated this might happen and planned for it. We expected they would need to have the comforts of home, familiar foods, drinks, blankets and most of all, familiar caregivers who knew their routines. It was part of our plan to help them adapt and benefit as much as possible by having familiarity. 

Just as Tatu and Lou were working out their new lives and trying to adjust and adapt, make new friends, meet lots of new people and have such drastic changes in their environment, they also had to witness the death of Yoko and all the sadness that surrounded his illness. They arrived in August and Yoko started his quick decline during that time, passing away only 5 months after their arrival. They really went through a lot, as did all the other chimpanzees, but Tatu and Lou were away from their home and most of their friends. 

Fast-forward to today! What a difference in the way they are and to see how they have accepted the changes and done the very best they could to embrace their new lifestyle. For me, to see Tatu take control of her life and begin to assert herself at Fauna has been a relief and a blessing. 

I was shocked one day to watch her tossing, well throwing is the better word for it, items from her overhead walkway down on all who annoy her or are not in her favor that day. Tatu, Lou and Sue have the front skywalk; the one that welcomes (or not) all visitors to the chimp house. They see everyone who enters the building…and on some days it seems Tatu does not wish for certain people to enter and expresses her annoyance with them. 

The way she expresses this is to throw plastic water bottles, stainless steel bowls and cups and even sheets and blankets-all dropping on the heads of her intended victim. At first I thought it was accidental as she will ask for a drink sometimes then throw down the bottle for a refill…but once she started to pick up all movable items that could fit through the rather large caging up top, it was obvious she was very serious and very in control. 

Although I was amazed to see this behavior from her, because I think she is perfect, I was giggling inside to see how in control she feels in those moments and how feisty and full of life she is. I adore her character and her expressive personality. It has been the most remarkable experience getting to know her and to learn so much about her and about chimpanzees, from her.

It has also been just a joy to experience just who Lou is. What a dear, dear little fellow. I see so many posts on Facebook about Loulis and receive so many notes from people who are totally in love with him and I know why. It has been equally enjoyable and heartwarming watching Lou make choices for himself–about where he wants to be and whom he wants to see. When Lou is not in the mood to greet staff or see anyone, he just stays out of sight. This is, of course, a real challenge for his caregivers who must do video follow with him as we continue to observe his interactions with the others and document his use of sign language. 

Loulis will be up overhead, just out of view, hidden behind the tarps that cover the skywalks. He loves to be in a place where he can see what is going on, but not be seen. That is, until he wants a game of chase, or sees a friend he finds intriguing and interesting. He can decide what he wants to do and that is fantastic. Not that he couldn’t before but at the University they could not sleep out at night and sometimes had to have the doors closed earlier in the day so the students and staff did not have to sleep over. It is a little different here and this has been a good experience for Lou.

A friend who cares and who loves you will make your world so much better. Thank you for your continued friendship with Tatu and Lou and their chimpanzee family at Fauna. We could not do it without you.

What a year indeed! 

 Gloria xo

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Tatu, the bubble queen!
Tatu, la reine des bulles!
#faunachimps #tatu #chimpanzee #queen #sanctuary #caregiverpics

Tatu, the bubble queen!
Tatu, la reine des bulles!
#faunachimps #tatu #chimpanzee #queen #sanctuary #caregiverpics

Pucker up princess! Beau rouge à lèvres! #kisses #guesswho #faunachimps #chimpanzee #princess

Pucker up princess! Beau rouge à lèvres! #kisses #guesswho #faunachimps #chimpanzee #princess

Guest post by Kaeley Sullins with Meg Mas: Primate Caregivers at Fauna

One year ago today I got a text at 4am letting me know that two of my closest friends were taking off on an airplane. I woke up, threw on some slippers, ran out the door and watched as the lights of that plane taking my friends away, got smaller and smaller–Tatu and Loulis were headed to Fauna Foundation. As tears poured down my face, I felt both sadness and joy. I was saddened not only for my loss, but also by the loss their friends would feel back in Washington. And of course, by the notion that Tatu and Loulis would never again see the place they’d known as home for so long. But I was happy for their prospects of new friendships and new adventures. In this post, I’d like to take you on the journey I watched my dear friends take as they embarked on this new adventure.

Tatu and Loulis arrived at Fauna Foundation and were greeted with open arms by their new Fauna family. Two of their old friends, Meg Mas and Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold, were with them to help make the transition to this new, unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces. The first few weeks were tough; so many new sounds, new faces, new spaces, new friends…there was a lot to take in. But, after a while, after being reassured and comforted, Tatu and Loulis gained more confidence in their new home. They began to venture around their new space–the chimphouse–and absorb the massive, complex building, not to mention the 11 unfamiliar chimpanzee faces looking back at them. Let’s not forget that both Loulis and Tatu had only known 3 other chimpanzees their entire lives.

Meg Mas and I were assigned the task of interpreter, friend and caregiver to Tatu and Loulis. The first months were slow going. Loulis was unsure of the layout of his new space (and uncertain of the occasional bang or pant hoot behind the plexiglass from the chimpanzees next door) and tended to stay in one area. Tatu ran everywhere she was permitted, watching every chimpanzee and every caregiver, getting the lay of the land. But she would return to Loulis at the slightest bit of uneasiness she felt coming from his direction. They are each other’s source of reassurance and confidence.

As soon as they were allowed, little time wasted in meeting their first new friend, Sue Ellen. I wasn’t there to witness the event but the description alone will bring anyone to tears. Tatu and Loulis needed and deserved new friends and after settling in, they finally met one. Meg Mas wrote this about Tatu meeting Sue Ellen for the first time…

After days of asking to go IN THERE with Sue, we were finally able to respond with YES YOU GO IN THERE! Tatu pant-hooted continuously until Gloria opened the door. At this point Tatu was in the upstairs area and Sue Ellen was in the outdoor enclosure downstairs.

As soon as Gloria opened the first upstairs door Tatu ran over to another door and asked IN THERE?

We had to do our best to explain to her to go downstairs. Finally, I just said “Tatu, the blue stairs there! Look!” She was very excited! Pilo erect and pant hooting she responded by signing YOU GO THERE …so I went downstairs and called her name. She came down the stairs and immediately went through another door that leads to the outdoor enclosure. Sue Ellen was outside and the two met in the short chute that connects that enclosure to the rest of the building. (See photos)

Tatu and Sue Ellen sat there holding each other and breathy panting for several minutes. Non-stop breathy panting! Then, Tatu stood up and walked over to the door that leads to the island and asked IN THERE? We had to tell her SORRY NOT NOW…so she walked back to Sue, hugged her, and they breathy panted some more. For the next hour or so Tatu explored her new space while Sue Ellen followed her around. Occasionally Tatu would run back over to Sue and they would hug and breathy pant or groom…and then Tatu would go explore more. We had planned on separating them for the night (while no humans are in the building) but they had other plans! They were never in separate rooms. I think they’ve only spent two or three nights apart since they met.”

Loulis met Sue Ellen not too long after Tatu and the 3 have been inseparable since.

Shortly after meeting Susie, Tatu met Spock. As Tatu’s friends and caregivers, we’ve all known her to be a “chimps chimp”. This means she knows all the tools and tactics to make friends with other chimpanzees. This is why Tatu generally meets new friends first, then Loulis follows suit. Here is a little something Meg wrote about Spock and Tatu meeting for the first time:

Today was a big exciting day here! We have been talking about introducing Spock and Tatu for a few weeks now and it finally happened. Tatu asked several times to go IN with him and at around 11:30am Gloria opened the door. Spock stood bipedal while Tatu sat in front of him a few feet away. They came together and hugged! Lots and lots of big hugs, breathy pants and open mouth kisses. Then Tatu walked outside. Spock followed her around (they were both still breathy panting) and then grabbed her foot and held onto it. She crutch-walked around in circles with a tripedal Spock walking behind her holding on to her foot. It was pretty cute…Tatu kept looking back at him and they were both laughing. Every few minutes they would stop, hug, and tickle. A few times Spock lay down in front of her and they held hands, tickled each other and repeatedly open mouth kissed.”  

Meg and I both agreed, it was love at first snuggle.

Spock is a great guy. Loulis met Spock shortly after Tatu and when Loulis first realized that Spock was in the same room as he was, he did not know what to do. Luckily, Tatu was there to offer support and Spock was ever so patient with his new friend. They spent the first few meetings hanging out in the same room, but never touching. Now, Loulis and Spock are great friends. Where Spock goes, Loulis goes and you can usually hear breathy panting coming from their direction.

As the months pass, Tatu and Loulis have become more confident in their new home. They have more and more friends to make, human and chimpanzee alike. They’ve taken everything in stride and shown great resilience given their circumstances. It’s only been a year but I can tell you things have changed. As a caregiver in both their old and new homes, I can see the change. Tatu, Loulis and I (as well as many other caregivers at CHCI) spent hours together looking at magazines, resting, grooming or playing chase. But now, they’ve got no time for caregivers! Every once in a while we can get in a good game of CHASE or a nice long grooming session, but they are rare these days. They are too busy being with each other or with their new chimpanzee friends. Tatu pant-hoots so often that I think I’m going deaf in one ear. Anything and everything is exciting; apples on nearby trees, pant-hoot; the arrival of the produce shipment, pant-hoot. Arriving in the morning with a banana for a snack later on in the day, pant-hoot (don’t worry, we share the bananas). The world is their oyster!

 I am extremely grateful to have witnessed their new adventures and I am excited to see what’s in store for my two friends in the years to come.  I don’t think I can ever express enough gratitude for the opportunity Fauna has granted these two wonderful people. 

Tatu and Sue Ellen 

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imageTatu and Spock

All Photos Meg Mas.

Caregiver Kaeley brought in homemade ginger ale for the chimpanzees to try! Tatu approves! 
Kaeley a apporté, pour les chimpanzés, une boisson au gingembre faite maison! Tatu a approuvée! #faunachimps #tatu #chimpanzee #gingerale #yum #sanctuary

Caregiver Kaeley brought in homemade ginger ale for the chimpanzees to try! Tatu approves!
Kaeley a apporté, pour les chimpanzés, une boisson au gingembre faite maison! Tatu a approuvée! #faunachimps #tatu #chimpanzee #gingerale #yum #sanctuary