To say that Missy loves tomatoes is an understatement. When she sees them offered at a meal she shakes her head vigorously, hold out her hand and follows the server relentlessly. She has no problem inserting herself in front of anyone lower in the hierarchy to make sure she receives the maximum amount possible.
Missy, and all the chimpanzees, have been watching their garden grow with increasingly impatience. Missy is very focused on the cherry tomatoes planted right outside one of the playroom windows and they are just starting to ripen. And I know this because Missy wasted no time in letting me know. When she saw me today she immediately ran to the window by the tomatoes, swung back and forth from the caging in excitement, and occasionally looked over her shoulder at me and gestured toward the tomatoes.
Then when it seemed I was a little slow to catch her drift (humans!), she threw herself onto the caging and shook it with all her might:
Here she throws me an outstretched arm to further plead her case:
The chimpanzees’ garden helps supplement the wonderful food donations we receive, but it also provides visual and edible enrichment for the chimpanzees. It’s a wonderful thing for them to look forward to and to be able to request something they see, freshly ripened and still warm from the sun. Thanks largely to volunteer caregiver, Denice, the chimps’ garden is really taking off. This year it’s full of onions, scallions, beets, cherry tomatoes, and carrots to name a few.
But for Missy, her eye is on these little guys:
Of course, it didn’t take long for boss lady, Jamie, and everyone else to catch on so staff caregiver, Anna, served up a mid-afternoon garden snack. Here Anna serves Burrito a cherry tomato as Jamie looks on:
Burrito was very anxious for a green onion, but with Jamie lurking next to him, he was reluctant to take it before receiving the green light from her. So he sat very, very still, hair standing on end (pilo-erect) and waited patiently for her to pass by before taking it from Anna:
Eventually, the boss gave her OK, but let him know she was watching. Here you can see her hovering over him as he munches his onion:
Annie loves, loves, loves green onions:
Jamie keeping a very close eye on Anna, making sure she is serving things correctly during her training:
I love that the chimpanzees have so many things to look forward to with each passing season.