Jamie is someone who could be referred to as a â€œcharacter.â€ She clearly likes attention and demanded a lot of it from me and the other Direct Care Committee members who accompanied me on my first visit to Buckshire to meet the chimpanzees. Jamie was the most gregarious of the group and was full of energy. She was clearly pleased to have the rapt attention of new people and really enjoyed having her feet tickled (with newspaper) and playing chase.
The first physical feature that I noticed about Jamie was that her belly had almost no hair. This was obviously due to â€œover-groomingâ€ – Jamie picks out the hair on her belly and the skin underneath the hair. Over-grooming is considered a form of self-mutilation and can be the result of a stressful, unpredictable life or a sign of utter boredom. Often, this type of behavior gradually disappears when a chimpanzee is moved to a sanctuary which provides a stimulating environment.
A big element that is missing from the day-to-day life of the chimpanzees at Buckshire is the lack of choice. Born into captivity, Jamieâ€™s entire life has been determined by the humans who claimed ownership over her. Her early years were spent as a â€œperformerâ€ in a circus, and then she was passed on to the biomedical research industry. There are very few opportunities to make choices in her daily existence at Buckshire. For Jamie, I believe this will be the biggest benefit to her new life at CSNW. I imagine that once she figures out that are so many things that she can do and ask for, she will probably be quite demanding of the time and energy of the staff at the sanctuary. And they will, no doubt, be elated to indulge her desires.