Ok so first a little bit of background for my story…
Every morning we usually start the daily cleaning by closing off the part of the chimpanzees’ enclosure we call the greenhouse. To do this we usually have a trained caregiver serve a little snack in the front rooms to make sure everyone is out of the greenhouse. The lead caregiver closes two doors remotely using levers and locks located on the wall of the human area. Once the chimpanzees no longer have access to the greenhouse (we do a series of checks to ensure this to be true), we can safely enter the area for cleaning. After the greenhouse is cleaned and locked up, the lead caregiver gives the chimpanzees access to the area again and the rest of breakfast can be served in the front rooms or greenhouse (if it’s not too cold). We generally ask the chimpanzees to shift out of the playroom at this time so we can clean this next.
Today staff member Elizabeth was the snack and breakfast server and I was the lead caregiver in charge of moving the chimpanzee’s doors (we rotate so all staff is the lead at least once a week). Elizabeth took the snack in (banana slices and peanuts) first thing in the morning and we set about gathering our cleaning supplies after the greenhouse was closed off. Burrito, as you probably know, is all about food, especially in the morning. This morning was no different except he seemed entirely unsatisfied by the snack and set about bronx cheering (a raspberry sound made with his lips) and bouncing up and down for more breakfast. We quickly cleaned the greenhouse and then Elizabeth served the rest of breakfast.
After the playroom was also cleaned, we put out a forage of kale and snow buckets so the chimpanzees would be motivated to shift into the playroom and I could close off the front rooms for the next round of cleaning. Much to my surprise, Burrito would not leave the front rooms. He never misses out on a forage! Instead of going into the playroom to collect the food, he was bouncing up and down with his hair standing on end looking at the shelf behind me. I finally discovered what Burrito was trying to tell us all morning! We had forgotten to serve the bowl of peanuts! Poor Burrito, Elizabeth quickly rectified the situation and all was right with the world again.