Last night there was a commotion on the hill. We didn’t see what happened, but there was a lot of screaming and Negra ran to the greenhouse to seek reassurance from the other chimpanzees. Was it a fight? Did Negra get stung by an insect? Did she touch the electric fence?
This morning, as I was getting ready to let the chimps out onto the hill, I wondered if Negra would choose to stay indoors where she felt safe. But before I could unlock the door, Negra was there, waiting. She was the first out the door, and she stayed out long after the other chimps had gone back inside. She looked so at ease, eating grass and soaking up the sun.
When it came time for her to get up and head back to the building, something happened – she panicked. I imagine that she didn’t realize how far it was back to the greenhouse, sort of like what happens when you climb a tall ladder and don’t experience fear until you look down and realize how high up you are. This is probably what happened to her last night as well.
She ran down the log bridge, trying to get back to the greenhouse as fast as she could (which, for Negra, is not very fast).
She showed a slight fear grimace…
…which turned into a pout or whimper face.
Being Negra, she managed to grab some dandelion greens along the way without breaking stride.
The panic was short-lived, thankfully, and within minutes she was back in the same spot, enjoying some more grass.
We never really know what the chimps are thinking, but it’s clear to me that Negra is determined to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s just going to take a while before she can truly relax. Each of the chimps does things in their own time, and in their own way.