It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is often true. But pictures are only snapshots of a single instant, and they often fail to provide perspective or context. If you saw this photo of Jamie:
you might conclude that she is a depressed chimpanzee who lives in a small cage. But your conclusions would begin to be better informed if you also saw this photo of her wrestling and laughing with her friend Foxie:
or this photo of her surveying her kingdom:
These are all moments in Jamie’s life, and taken together, they begin to paint a picture of Jamie’s personality and her experience in sanctuary. But individually, none of them are the complete story. Jamie is a complex person made up of unique interests, personality traits, and life experiences. Like most of us, she is impossible to categorize, and she is full of contradictions. She is bossy and insecure, selfish and generous, serious and lighthearted, gentle and brutal. She does probably experience depression and feel confined at times, and she also experiences joy and freedom. She is sometimes sweet and sometimes a little mean-spirited and we love all of her.
This is equally true of all of the chimpanzees, and though we do our best to share a variety of perspectives on this blog over time, most of the time you are only seeing a snapshot in any given blog post. The snapshots we share are always honest snapshots, but they are never the complete story. We love the chimps we care for not because they are angels or victims or martyrs, but because they are each individuals who are amazing and flawed and perplexing. It’s one of our greatest joys to get to gradually discover their complete stories.