It’s been over seven years since the chimpanzees’ previous lives as research subjects came to an end, and they moved into their new home at the sanctuary. We’ve seen so many changes in them in that time; not only physically, but in their personalities, their interests, their likes and dislikes. I’m going to do my best to describe each of the chimpanzees as we know them today.
Annie is sweet and shy, but is less and less afraid to stick up for herself. She adores her best friend Missy, but has also learned to appreciate alone time. When she’s feeling relaxed, she lies on her back and makes “bird noises” by holding her hand to her mouth and blowing air through. She loves to look at caregivers’ bare feet.
Burrito is boyish, excitable, and always hungry. He loves his caregivers, and turns to them when he’s feeling playful, which is always. He is learning to navigate the social waters of a chimpanzee group, but he still steps out of line from time to time and gets in trouble with the ladies. He has been joining boss Jamie on many of her perimeter walks around Young’s Hill, despite the fact that he’s a little afraid of her.
Foxie is silly and childlike. She is the peacekeeper of the group, and works hard to make sure everyone is getting along. When she’s overjoyed, she does backflips, pirouettes, and a variety of breakdancing moves. She is rarely seen without her beloved troll and Dora the Explorer dolls. She loves fruit smoothie, and likes to tickle her caregivers with her toes.
Jamie is strong, focused, and very, very smart. She is an insecure leader, but what she lacks in confidence she makes up for in determination. She is obsessed with humans, and wants very much to be included in our activities. She enjoys projects and challenges – the trickier, the better. Nothing makes her happier than spending time with a caregiver and a good pair of cowboy boots.
Jody is confident, independent, and serious. She is the self-appointed group manager, and often hangs back at the doorway when the chimps are shifting into a new area and ushers the other chimps through with an extended arm. She loves to make giant nests with mountains of blankets, and dives into them head-first with a low moan of contentment that we call her “dinosaur noise.”
Missy is an adventurous, athletic thrill seeker. If she were a human, she’d be the type to enjoy activities like sky diving and bungee jumping. She’s extremely loyal to her chimpanzee group, and will stick up for any of them at anytime, no questions asked. Her propensity for tending to the other chimps’ wounds has earned her the nickname “Dr. Missy.” She would do anything for tomatoes.
Negra is regal, impatient, and wise. She stays out of most group conflicts, and lets the other chimps know when to cut it out with a decisive pant hoot. She is the cranky grandma who everyone’s a little afraid of, but respects nonetheless. Her ideal day is made up of blankets, naps, peanuts, and quiet.