As our regular blog readers know, Jamie is the boss around here, but Negra is the Queen. Though Negra isn’t more dominant in the hierarchy than Jamie, she’s respected as the eldest. Jamie often starts conflicts when she sees something she wants (a very manipulative tactic in chimp politics) but Negra has the authority to end a conflict by pant-hooting and stomping loudly.
I think it’s really amazing that these chimps have dynamics like this, a natural sort of chaos so to speak. Chimps are very political and relationships can sometimes be “complicated.” In sanctuary, they get to have this natural social order that they couldn’t have had in a lab, where they were basically just ghosts of themselves. Sanctuary allows them to be themselves—to be chimpanzees. I’m reminded of that everyday, and it makes me so proud of this sanctuary and of all the staff that work tirelessly to bring the Cle Elum Seven the best life they deserve. I have this feeling every time I see the chimps out on the hill. You’d think after a year and a half, we’d be used to it—but no, the feeling of pride and happiness in seeing these ex-lab chimps get to walk on two acres and sit in the sunshine never gets old.
Recently J.B. wrote an entry about Jamie’s transformation. I can’t imagine “The Boss” ever living in a cage the size of a coat closet, with no social organization to uphold and nothing to keep her mind constantly busy. Now she gets to walk around Young’s Hill everyday, multiple times a day, and get to wear cowgirl boots if she wants because that’s her choice.
Awhile back I wrote this one about Negra and nesting. It’s so awesome that Negra gets to be the Queen of CSNW, where she can make the choice to lounge in a big nest full of blankets if she wants to, or walk outside and sit in her cabin.