As autumn transitions into steadily colder and darker days, the chimpanzees (even Negra!) have been extra busy on Young’s Hill. And thanks to the Armstrong family, with a new structure to explore, and new dolls to explore with, Foxie took her current favorite troll doll along to check things out. And JB got some ridiculously adorable photos!
One of Foxie’s most endearing habits is how she carries her dolls on her back. Chimpanzee mamas are highly invested in raising and nurturing their children. The bond they share is the same we experience with our human children. They carry their infants for about the first six months of their lives and then as the babies become strong enough to grasp for extended periods, they begin to ride around on their mother’s back. Chimpanzee children are highly dependent on their mothers and even as they grow and become more independent they remain in close contact for the first several years of their lives.
Foxie’s four children were all taken from her during her years in biomedical research and it’s emotionally appealing to think that she carries the dolls on her back with her children in mind. But we can never know what she’s truly thinking and it may just be a natural and effective way of carrying her beloved dolls with her when she’s on the go. Whatever the reason, though bittersweet, it never fails to warm our hearts and I think it’s safe to say, hers as well. And that’s what matters most.
Foxie and troll, on the go: