Burrito’s courage might not always present as it does in many male chimpanzees, but I don’t think that makes it any less brave or valid. In fact, for a guy who spent the first 25 years of his life powerless to the whims of humans, living in fear and uncertainty with no respect for his needs or nature, and deprived of the nurturing and modeling that should have come from living with his chimp family, he shows endless courage every day.
It’s taken Burrito awhile to feel comfortable walking the perimeter of Young’s Hill with Jamie and investigating the climbing structures. With each passing year he’s taken further steps outside his comfort zone. When Burrito does decide to put himself out there on the structures, he still seems uncertain of his chimp status and moves very cautiously, hanging onto the fire hose or railings for security, sometimes fear grimacing the whole way, and often looking longingly back toward the safety and comfort of the chimp house. But he still gives it a go.
It’s not uncommon now for him to bring up the rear behind Jamie during our walks, but when she makes her routine stop to climb the Twister and check out the neighborhood, Burrito typically waits patiently below until Jamie says it’s time to move on. So on this occasion my heart swelled to see him decide to climb up the structure behind her.
Feeling safe for the moment Burrito found a moment to look up at the sky and take in his home from up there, seemingly in awe:
Our hearts are full of gratitude to you all for giving Burrito, and each of the chimps, the space for their hearts and spirits to soar and be brave.