We often talk about Annie and Missy’s friendship, Foxie’s ability to get her friend Jamie to relax, and Burrito’s reliance on Foxie for reassurance when times are tense and their goofy play sessions when times are relaxed.
There are several close relationships among the chimpanzees. One that we haven’t talked about much is that between Burrito, the youngest chimpanzee, and Negra, the oldest.
Negra seems to give Burrito respect as the one male of the troop, perhaps more respect than some of the other ladies show him (ahem, Jamie).
Burrito and Negra often go to each when there’s something exciting going on, like setting up for a party, and they are frequent grooming partners too.
Today, as you can see from the photos below, they spent several minutes grooming one another after Negra was a bit concerned over a noise she heard.
Negra made a “pout face” as a reaction to the noise (which was a bird calling). This looks similar to when chimpanzees trumpet their lips to pant-hoot, but a pout face is used during times of concern, distress, or frustration:
Then Negra approached Burrito to be groomed, which can be a form of asking for reassurance:
Later, she reciprocated the grooming:
Living in a social group of others who understand their wants and needs is one of the most important aspects of sanctuary life for the chimpanzees, and we understand that they need to turn to one another, not to us humans, for their deepest and most important relationships.