I’ve wanted to write this for a while, but I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write it so that it doesn’t sound so mushy that people think it is out of character for me. I think I’m just going to go for it, though…
I’m in love with Negra. It started when I met her in December, but when J.B. and I visited last month, I fell harder. There was this moment when the bars of the caging seemed to disappear. It was as though Negra and I were no longer in the basement of a laboratory with me wearing a tyvex suit and plastic face shield. It was just the two of us sharing the experience of looking into each others eyes. So, like anyone newly in love, I want to tell everyone I know about her and explain why she is so special.
She has a very calm and gentle demeanor, but she’s also clearly emotionally strong and independent. She currently spends most of her days sleeping, although she’ll get up for food. Food is one of the few pleasures that she has in her current life, and she’ll take whatever is offered to her. She has the best relaxed face that I have ever seen – her bottom lip drops so low it practically touches her chest. We don’t have any photos yet, but I’m sure we’ll be able to get a good one of Negra’s drooped-lip face once she is safely in her new home at CSNW.
After observing me playing with some of the other chimpanzees, Negra came down off of her ledge. That’s when she won me over. She just looked at me for a while at first. After sizing me up, she got up and started to play a good, although rather slow, game of chase. It probably only lasted for a couple of minutes, but it was fantastic – a great indication that she has good days ahead of her at the sanctuary. She went back to her concrete ledge, but continued to watch me. When it was time for us to go, I said goodbye to Negra. She returned my goodbye by playfully stomping her foot on the wall from her position laying down.
I can’t wait to see her again.