Taronga Chimpanzee Biographer at Work

Taronga Chimpanzee Biographer at Work

 I've spent most of the past week simply working on chimpanzee biographies at Tchimpounga.

 Debby and I have been starting each day with a 6am trip down to the beach with the dogs, one of whom (Tango) has an injured leg so we're trying to give him some time in the salt water each day to irrigate and exercise it. There are also three puppies living at the Eco-guard station at the entrance to the sanctuary that we clean up and feed each morning.

Brad made some enrichment puzzles for them out of old bottles, tins and cardboard boxes, which they seemed to love. I've spent a good few hours pulling ticks out of their ears as well ... on the first session I pulled out 50 before I stopped counting.

 After dog duties, I set up my little office each day at a table outdoors in the shade, where I'm trying to get as much time as possible with the caregivers to interview them about each of the chimps. It's tough because everyone here is very busy, and it's taking me a lot longer to get each one written than I had hoped.  I'm doing all the interviews in French, and I have found fluent French speaker in Canada to help me with the translations, so I'm emailing them to her for translation in English. Seems to be working well so far, and I'm hoping this week I'll be able to make a bit more headway.

 A few times last week the staff shouted at me to pack up my things and move inside because a chimp has escaped, but so far they've not come up to the main area.

 Brad came home to the sanctuary on Friday after a really, really long week on the islands. Good to have him home, and it sounds like he was able to do some good works showing the caregivers out there a little about behavioural conditioning.

 Today Brad and I had a little bit of playtime with Willy, Zola and Lemba in the nursery. Zola is sick with a cold at the moment so she just wanted to have a nice cuddle with each of us, but Willy was a terror and couldn't keep his hands out of Brad's shirt. He had a lots of fun swinging off Brad's arms and doing somersaults. Lemba is a bit of a hairdresser so decided to have an attempt at re-doing my hair, but we called it quits after she decided I had too much and and tried pulling it out with both hands. She pulled hard, really hard!

We also did another painting session with Amazon and Dunez - Amazon is the resident artist, but Dunez doesn't have the patience.