Thanks to the generous donations from both the Groves Conference 2010 and FOW member Evelyn Tulloss the party in honor of Washoe’s birthday this year was quite a success. The funds were used to purchase decorations and treats for the playrooms as well as a Dairy Queen dinner later that evening.
While filming the festivities I was witness to much chimpanzee excitement, expressed in food-grunts, squeaks and even a pant hoot or two, and what seemed to be general contentment in a well orchestrated party. Two events stand out in memory that I’d like to share.
First, Loulis, in his quest for treats, happened upon a large plastic mirror hung on one of the rungs in EAST playroom. Often Loulis pulls things down or off of the walls and platforms during his food forages and I expected to see much the same on this day. Instead, Loulis used the mirror to watch Dar who was engaged with a frozen juice bottle across the enclosure. Loulis appeared to be entertained in this way for a short while as he enjoyed his own treats at leisure.
Second, Tatu encountered a new and different toy in the shape of a large syringe-like squirt gun filled with water. What I found so interesting about this encounter is that it slowly unfolded throughout the mornings activities. When they first entered the EAST playroom Tatu found the squirt gun lying across a large tractor tire. She picked it up at this time, examined it briefly, and then laid it back in the same spot. Following this introduction she came back to it again and again as she foraged for treats, each time touching it or picking it up but subsequently replacing it on the tire. Once the foraged treats were consumed and the “party” portion of the morning was winding down, Tatu casually approached the tire, picked up the squirt gun, and continued on to a safe spot in WEST from which to thoroughly examine this new object. After initial defeat, having first tried to bite the end off, Tatu quickly figured out the real mechanics of this toy and squirted the water out onto the floor. This sudden pool was quite a surprise to Loulis who had been closely food-peering as Tatu finished her treats!
Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures to show you of these events. However, I hope you enjoy the ones that did turn out. Thanks again for helping us to enrich the lives of Washoe’s family in so many ways!