As I was walking around Young’s Hill with Jamie the other day, I was thinking about how she’s created a trail for herself (JB does mow the grass down during the summer, but there’s still a beaten path where Jamie walks several times a day) and it reminded me of when I visited the Louvre in Paris many years ago. One of the stairwells had worn down on one spot on each step because so many people walked that path every day. The favorite spot. I’m not really sure why I was thinking about that, but maybe because it’s just another way chimpanzees and humans are alike—we find a path we like taking, and stick with it.
The favorite spot phenomenon doesn’t just apply to pathways, but also places to rest or eat. Jamie has a few favorite spots, depending on the activity at hand. For her morning snack in the front rooms she likes to sit on her barrel in room 2, and she almost never strays from that spot for that activity. Foxie and Burrito both like to sit up on the lazy susans, and Negra will sit on a blanket just below.
Missy, Jody, and Annie all sort of move around during meals, but they do have favorite spots for resting. Annie and Missy like the catwalk by the bridge—it’s a popular spot for grooming. Negra has two favorite spots—her summer spot in front of one of the catwalk windows, and her winter spot in the middle of the loft. Jamie likes to rest in the corner of room 3 against the fencing, or near the playroom door. And Jody likes the bench in room 4—as we’ve dubbed it, “the portrait studio” because it has really great lighting. We have lots of photos of Jody lying down in this spot, both snacking on browse like cattails or bamboo, and taking a quick nap in a blanket nest.
Whatever it is that motivates us to find our favorite spots—they represent comfort and safety, which is something that is so valuable for ex-biomedical chimpanzees. This is their second chance at life, and what better way to spend their day than in the comfort of their own home.
Watch the video below to see more ways the chimpanzees find comfort in their sanctuary home, and please Share the Chimp Love!