Jamie does everything with a certain level of seriousness. In part, it’s just her personality and in part, it’s probably her role as alpha of the group that she works hard to remind us all of. Even when she’s really happy and playing, it’s rare to see her with a play face or hear her laugh unless she’s in a wrestling session with Foxie who is about the only person who can really get Jamie to cut loose.
Jamie’s seriousness also extends to her beloved walks around Young’s Hill. There are for the humans in particular to follow. She leads – you follow, run when she runs, don’t attempt to go in a direction she hasn’t initiated, and if she decides to wander and explore a bit, then just make yourself comfortable and wait for her to return and resume walking when she’s ready. To be fair, chimpanzees in general aren’t followers when engaging with the humans and if they initiate play they usually prefer us to follow their lead and/or mimic whatever they’re doing. But it’s especially true with the boss.
So in the middle of a walk around Young’s Hill with Jamie and Missy we were all running side by side (me outside the fence of course) when Missy suddenly playfully bumped shoulders with Jamie and then tried to grab her feet while running. A classic chimpanzee invitation to play! I wasn’t sure what Jamie’s response would be as she has a route she likes to follow around the perimeter. I had to smile to see Jamie accept Missy’s invitation and they ditched me and headed off down the hill together in a spontaneous game of chase. Just the way it should be.
Missy following Jamie and exploring the log bridges:
After this photo they raced through the bamboo together and I totally lost sight of them so I headed back down the hill on my own. But to my surprise they eventually ran back to meet me so we could all race back to the greenhouse together.