Dear friends of Fauna,
Hello, and how are you? We have so much to share with you!
If you have been following us on Facebook or the blog, you are likely in step with what’s happening at Fauna, but if you aren’t, then get ready for some big news…
Tatu and Loulis
We now have two wonderful new residents living at Fauna! Tatu and Loulis arrived August 22 from the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) in Ellensburg, WA, at Central Washington University. Tatu and Loulis are the remaining two chimpanzees from a family of five that were part of the sign language studies from years ago at CHCI.
In 1995, while on an Earthwatch mission to learn about caring for chimpanzees, I visited CHCI and was introduced to Tatu, Loulis, Moja, Dar and Washoe. They were the very first chimpanzees I ever met, and the ones who inspired me to start a sanctuary and to work towards ending chimpanzee research. I was forever touched by these remarkable beings and they were the catalyst for changing my life. So for me, this is a full circle, to be with Tatu and Lou again.
Over the years Tatu and Loulis lost their family. In 2002 Moja passed away, then in 2007 Washoe, and just one year ago, on November 24th, dear Dar passed away. Plans had been in motion to renovate their home to prepare for additional chimpanzees to join them at CHCI, but things had stalled. The clock ticked and the University remained indecisive about their plans. Time was also passing for Tatu and Loulis, who were dealing with the sadness of their recent loss. As much as everyone worked hard to keep them company and offer friendship, it was clear to Friends Of Washoe that plans would need to be made to relocate Tatu and Loulis, permanently. They wanted them to feel secure, and not threatened.
The University ultimately chose not to fund the changes needed, and Friends Of Washoe, the trust who ‘’own’’ and care for Tatu and Loulis, decided they did not want the two of them to remain in such an unstable environment with a University Director who had no intention of securing their home, and intent on ending their project.
There were five amazing NAPSA sanctuaries willing to take the two special chimpanzees, however, with time passing quickly and the University’s plans for the future uncertain, it was decided a move sooner rather than later, was essential. There was little time for sanctuaries to prepare but luckily, Fauna was ready to open their doors.
Fauna has been through many losses over the years, and we have also welcomed new arrivals. Change was not unfamiliar. Remember, Toby came in 2002. Then in 2007 Spock, Maya, and Sophie arrived. We also had space, and we had our own social situations, a fission-fusion society that would allow the Fauna chimpanzees the ability to move and adjust to these new friends. This meant Fauna met the unique criteria to be able to offer Tatu and Loulis a new home right away.
So what happened next?
As all of you know, in 2012 Pepper passed away, leaving behind her very lonely little friend, Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen was very close to Pepper and spent every day in her company, Pepper never faraway. Sue has not lived in big groups for a few years now. She is frail, and has a serious limp from an old hip injury, along with vision problems and of course loss of hearing.
Our preference has been to make sure she is not with dynamic chimpanzees who have no regard for her condition. The months after Pepper’s death we tried many situations; Sue Ellen spent time with Petra, Jethro, Regis, Yoko, Rachel and Chance. Chance was the chosen companion for months, and that was not without its challenges, but at least it was company. Often we needed to make sure Sue could be alone for a while to rest and have some peace.
One day, noticing Spock hanging around and choosing to be alone—away from his friend Binky, and lifetime companion Maya—a suggestion was made to reunite Sue Ellen and Spock. It seemed like a good idea, and it went so well. We opened the doors for them to be together again, and they were both very happy see each other. So, it seemed Sue Ellen now had a nice calm fellow to spend time with, and that was special. However, Spock is missed by Binky and Maya and often wants to go back and visit with them.
Moving Tatu and Loulis to Canada
While making the decision to move Tatu and Loulis to Canada, many things were considered. Where they would live, where would they be happiest, who would they spend time with, what were the options and possibilities? In my mind, I saw Sue Ellen as a potential new friend for both Tatu and Loulis. There was space in the building, the area previously occupied by Pepper and Sue Ellen; their favorite place, right at the front of the building, with a great view of everyone coming and going, with the best beds in the Chimphouse. It was an extension built in 2004 for our seniors, who have all adored this special space—Sue still does. The plan was to quarantine Tatu and Loulis in this area, then, eventually let them choose more locations in the Chimphouse as they became comfortable with their new surroundings.
The building is big, and there are lots of options. Over the years, YOU have helped make Fauna a very special place…
You have helped me build the Islands.
You have helped me grow start a Lifetime Care Fund. You have helped me add extensions.
You have helped me build a Skywalk.
And you’ve given me the tools to offer the chimps the best possible lifestyle they could hope for in captivity. You have helped provide a fission-fusion society with all the options, the different locations, the complex environment—and of course all the new doors you’ve helped me create. Because of all of you, life is better for all of them!
Friends of Washoe will match any donations given towards this new skywalk section for Sue, Lou and Tatu…
The chimpanzees of Fauna have options, so many choices, and a chance to move about, to explore, to hide, to be in cozy spaces or to be in big open areas with nature, views of the farm, the pond and its many daily visitors, and the staff traveling around. None of this would have been possible without your support. You have always been there when I needed you, and I do need you now, for another door, and another section of skywalk…
The Sue Lou Tatu Skywalk!
Last winter a wonderful friend, supporter and volunteer, Kathleen Asselin, gave us a gift to do a new extension of skywalk. It is complete and it is a great addition! There was a new door added and a staircase section of skywalk that connects to the existing elevated areas. There is a small amount of funding left…enough to pay for another new door…but that’s about it. So, let’s work together to allow Sue, Tatu and Lou to move over to the other side of the building—from the mezzanine to Jeanie’s area—that would be AMAZING!
I know how much you care, and I know how much you have always wanted to help make the world a better place for the chimps, after their years in research. They get so much pleasure from these outdoor locations, passing days going for walks, resting in the sun, surrounded by the sounds of nature, and the occasional tractor or four-wheeler. They are moments in time for the chimps, special moments, peaceful moments, that we all know they certainly do deserve.
Tatu and Loulis need a space to call their own, where they can feel secure, protected and enjoy a new life with new friends…a peaceful space for bonds to form, and new friendships to grow.
Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping. And thank you forunderstanding just how import- ant this is. We invite you help us start building and we look forward to engraving the names of those of you who donate on the dedication plaque of the Sue•Lou•Tatu Skywalk!