It takes a lot of trust for two chimpanzees to play together. Many play behaviors are variations on fighting behaviors – chasing, wrestling, stealing, slapping, hitting, etc. – and as play gets more aggressive, it’s easy to misunderstand your partner’s intentions. When the chimps first arrived at the sanctuary, Foxie and Annie would occasionally attempt to play, and it almost always ended up as a fight. They just didn’t have enough trust in one another.
Things sure have changed.
I wouldn’t say that Foxie and Annie are best friends now, but they certainly have come to understand each other more and they even engage in rough and tumble play from time to time without it erupting into a conflict. This morning, Foxie even allowed Annie to playfully steal (and dismember!) one of her Dora dolls. That’s when you know you are a member of Foxie’s inner circle.