Annie is by nature a sweet and shy soul. Probably due in part to her personality, she is also lowest in the social hierarchy of her chimpanzee family. But don’t think this means that she can’t hold her own when she feels strongly enough about something or doesn’t find a way to get what she wants. We’ve even witnessed her stand face to face with Jamie during arguments! And the backing of her best friend, Missy, will often give her additional courage when needed.
At the same time Annie does a great job at her role of being a subordinate chimpanzee. For example, when taking food she cautiously looks around to make sure it’s OK with everyone else (this usually means Jamie and Missy). This is completely normal behavior in chimpanzee society and there is typically more political savvy exercised than physical force. And while by nature she is less interested in interacting with the humans and prefers the company of her chimpanzee friends, if she wants to interact with us she finds a way to do so without getting into trouble.
When I went in to greet the chimpanzees this morning, much to my delight, Annie ran over to say good morning to me. But then she turned her back to me, looked around, and quickly turned her head to the side to offer me a quick kiss on the back of my hand. Then she looked around again to make sure the coast was clear and reached out to tickle my hand. And off she ran to start the rest of her day. These moments with Annie are such a treat. It makes my heart smile to see her becoming more courageous and comfortable in her own skin. She may be quiet but she’s sly!