I spend every Tuesday volunteering at the chimpanzee sanctuary at the Fauna Foundation. If you would like to read my first post about Fauna you will find it here.
You can’t work at Fauna without becoming attached to the animals and to all of the wonderful people who put their hearts and souls into caring for them 24/7. Yesterday was a very emotional day for me, but sometimes that’s just how it is at Fauna.
It is with great sadness that I must tell you of the loss of one of the most recent additions to our precious chimpanzee family. Sophie was one of the three chimps that came to us last November from the now defunct Quebec City Zoo. Sadly she passed away last Wednesday. She had been very sick with all sorts of health problems. Unfortunately I don’t know much about her history but I would normally see her for at least a few minutes every Tuesday. She was very quiet and always seemed a bit nervous. I thought it was because she was still adjusting to her new surroundings, but now I suppose it was because she wasn’t well. She was a very dear soul - may God bless and keep her tender heart. She will be remembered forever and missed by all at Fauna.
On a happier note Thursday May 1st is the day that Tom’s birthday is celebrated. Nobody knows exactly when this handsome fellow was born, but we do know that it was some time during the 60’s in Africa. Tommy was torn away from his family and endured 30 years of life in the cold world of laboratories at the Buckshire Corporation and at LEMSIP. His birthday will be celebrated on Thursday and Fauna is gearing up for the celebration by decorating the chimp house with streamers and banners. They bought lots of presents for Tom and for all the other chimps too. He’s going to have a great party!
When I had finished preparing the enrichment packages yesterday I was invited to work in the kitchen to help prepare the chimp’s supper. I was working behind the counter that you see on the right side of this picture. I had quite an audience as I washed and set out mounds of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables for them - and I got to see almost all of the chimps.
Tom’s best (human) friend Pat came by for a visit while I was working on preparing supper. It was so endearing watching the two of them together. Tommy just adores Pat and I was seriously tearing up watching them together. Pat dotes on Tom and there isn’t anything Pat wouldn’t do for him. Tom shows his affection for Pat by giving him kisses through the bars and by acting like a big old softie. I totally cracked up when Pat was leaving and was offering Tommy his favourite foods. Tommy managed to stuff 3 or 4 apples into his mouth all at the same time so his cheeks were blown out like a great big chipmunk’s and then every fruit or vegetable that Pat handed to him was piled into his arms - a few heads of lettuce, a bunch of tangerines, a few mangoes and I can’t remember what else. It was hilarious to see Tom all piled up with food, his mouth full, his arms totally over-loaded and to see him disappear out back all happy, carrying his “loot”.
Every week my heart is warmed by the amazing personalities of the chimps at Fauna. Every week my respect grows for the wonderful people who spend their lives caring for all of these special beings. I hope that one day I will be invited to become a permanent part of the Fauna family staff. It would genuinely be a dream-come-true for me.
(photos used with permission and provided by the Fauna Foundation)
Kathleen (aka TheNatureNut)