In the comments section of a previous post, Michelle asked, “I’m interested in learning what their possible reactions might be to the wide open outdoor spaces that they will encounter, are you anticipating any anxiety from them and how will you deal with it? I’ve read how many of the chimps released in Florida at the sanctuary there have some pretty stressful reactions to natural spaces, any ideas you can share with us on how it might go?”
As Debbie mentioned in her response, we do anticipate that some of the chimps will initially be hesitant to walk out into the wide open space of Young’s Hill. To help them overcome their fears, we built a fire hose hand rail so that they might feel anchored to something familiar as they venture out. We also built a walkway made of logs for those who might be anxious about grass underfoot. Both of these structures lead to a nearby platform, which resembles the platform in their current outdoor enclosure.
We hope that these things will make it easier for the chimps to take those first steps out into the unknown, but of course, they will do things at their own pace. Some will head out as soon as we open the door, while others may need some time. And some may just need the right incentive, like a field full of frozen watermelons (I’m looking at you, Burrito)….