Used Sails…Monkey Business?

First of all, thanks to HSC members who donated their used sails at Docks-out last year. At that event, Windmill Fleet 60 collected sails to donate to Sails For Sustenance, a non-profit organization that repurposes sails for use by fishermen in Haiti. And, we also collected old sails for use at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Yes, the Columbus Zoo!

Last October, Commodore Marty Sweterlitsch was contacted by zoo keepers in the large ape area who were interested in obtaining old sails or sailcloths that could be used as part of their animal enrichment program at the zoo. As part of the program, zookeepers introduce new materials to the animals, then study how the animals interact and use these materials, particularly for “nesting” activities. It turns out that our used sails are a hit with bonobos! Who knew?

So, what are bonobos? The bonobo, historically called the pygmy or dwarf chimpanzee, is a highly endangered great ape from the Congo River Basin in Africa. Bonobos are our closest living relative in the animal kingdom. We share 98.7% of our DNA with bonobos, which means that bonobos are more closely related to humans than to gorillas. The bonobo is not a subspecies of chimpanzee, but rather a distinct species making up the genus Pan (Pan paniscus). Researchers estimate there may be fewer than 5000 bonobos left in the wild. They are highly social animals that tend to be peaceful and avoid conflict.  In fact, bonobos are the only great ape that has never been seen to kill their own kind.

We will be collecting used sails at this year’s Docks-in. If you would like more information about our collection process and donations, please contact Chris Bunge, Fleet Coordinator, or Kathy Bachman.

Both Sails For Sustenance and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are 501 (c) (3) charitable organizations. Contributions, both in-kind and monetary, are tax deductible.