In some ways, Burrito has had to learn to be a chimpanzee. Lab chimps don’t get many chances to act like chimps – they often don’t have access to other chimps to groom or play with, they don’t get to forage for their food, and they don’t have room to move like chimps should move. Those of them who are lucky enough to move to a sanctuary usually exhibit a learning curve; they have fears to face and skills to acquire.
One natural chimp behavior that Burrito never exhibited during his first year or two at the sanctuary was brachiating (BREAK-ee-ate-ing). This is the arm-over-arm swinging that chimps do from branch to branch in the trees. Despite never having the space to move in that way before, the other chimps all brachiated across the ceiling of the greenhouse from day 1. But not Burrito. It just didn’t seem to occur to him as an option.
And then one day, he did. We’re not sure what changed, but it was one of many steps Burrito has made on his way to chimpanzee-ness.