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Big Chimpin’

May 15, 2010

Well, I told you that we were going to yoga this morning.

BUT.

The rain cleared up, and we stuck to our original (MUCH more exciting) plans for the morning…

CHIMP HAVEN!!!

About 22 miles southwest of Shreveport is a primate paradise called Chimp Haven.  Chimp Haven opened its doors 2005, and is home to 124 chimps.  These are chimps who were used for scientific research, entertainment purposes, or simply kept as pets, who could not be cared for as they grew older, but also could not be released back into the wild. 

Chimp Haven serves as a permanent retirement community for these unwanted chimpanzees who have nowhere else to go.  At Chimp Haven, which is over 200 acres of forest land, the chimps form social groups with alpha chimps, build nests, climb trees, and eat natural vegetation, just like they would in the wild.  They have limited human contact at the haven, and are only available for observation to the general public on Discovery Days, which are held once a month—lucky for us, today was a discovery day!

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My mom volunteered at Chimp Haven for a few years when it first opened (and has a funny story involving a male chimp who was VERY interested in her…and not afraid to show his affection), so we’ve been following its progress since it first began.  Chimp Haven started off with just two chimps, and now has grown to house over 100!

Some Chimp Facts:

Did you know that chimp DNA and human DNA is 98% similar?

Chimps have a complex communication system, and can express anger, grief, happiness, and excitement through facial expressions, body poses, movement, touch, and vocalization.  They have over 35 recognizable vocalizations.

Chimps form friendships with other chimps that endure a lifetime.  Chimp friends will travel, eat, sleep, play, and seek comfort from each other.

Mother chimps develop lifelong relationships with their offspring.

*        *         *

Pretty cool stuff!

We had a great time watching the chimps:

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There’s even a baby chimp at the haven!  Her name is Tracy, and she was born in 2007.  All of the male chimps have had vasectomy’s, but one of the males, Conan, was still able to slip one past the goalie! What a stud!

Tracy (typical kid) has TONS of energy, and spent the morning climbing trees:

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Can you spot her?  She’s WAY up top!

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There she is!!  She’s a cutie pie:

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We found a familiar couple on one of the donation plaques:

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And finally came home for some lunch:

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Yum!

Hope you’re having a great day! If you’d like to know more about Chimp Haven, you can visit their website at www.chimphaven.org

 

13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2010 8:57 pm

    Ohh noo! Chimps creep me out SO much! I always skip them if I go to the zoo, I find them so strange…I’m glad you had fun though! 🙂

  2. May 15, 2010 9:09 pm

    Wow! That is SO much better than yoga. Chimps scare me a bit since that one woman was attacked, but I realize that a) they aren’t domestic animals and b) it was a freak accident

  3. May 15, 2010 9:11 pm

    Hey girl – glad the rain cleared out for you guys. Sounds like a nice way to spend the day!

  4. May 16, 2010 12:12 am

    Ahh love the chimps!

  5. May 16, 2010 1:22 pm

    Sounds like a great park! It’s good to hear that it isn’t open to people that often. However, it’s nice that these chims are taking care of!

  6. May 16, 2010 2:07 pm

    Oh how fun!! Stephen and I could have a blast at that place. We love going to zoos. There’s a place in NC where you can hold a tiger cub. We’ve been wanting to go for awhile!

  7. May 16, 2010 2:30 pm

    OMG!!!!!! I’m in love with Chimps. I have always dreamed of owning my own. haha. This place looks amazing. I wish I lived around there to go. I guess you will just have to go back again for me 🙂 Love all the pictures

  8. May 16, 2010 3:05 pm

    How fun, makes me want to plan a zoo trip! Lunch looks great too.

  9. May 16, 2010 6:59 pm

    They’re so cute. I sort of remember an episode of This American Life that talked about that place (or a similar one). It was very interesting.

  10. May 17, 2010 2:10 am

    wow that place looks great – i have been on safari in africa and seen a lot of animals but i’ve never seen a chimp in person…

  11. May 17, 2010 2:59 am

    Yes, indeed…much better than yoga! I knew we were close in DNA…but 98% ?! Haha 🙂 At least they’re cute!!

  12. May 17, 2010 10:42 pm

    Go Conan Go! LOL. What a cool place and how awesome that you got to visit. It’s good to see that someone is helping these animals after they’ve been used (inappropriately, imo).

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