Served lunches at the sanctuary are generally quiet affairs, with each chimpanzee waiting somewhat patiently to collect their proper portions of fresh vegetables and primate chow. Every now and then though, we have someone that gets it in their minds that they want to steal more lunch. Usually that someone is Jamie or Jody, and sometimes Negra (who seems to steal mostly from Missy). While caregivers can’t really stop this behavior from happening, we can ask the chimpanzee that is collecting their lunch to move away from the thief for a better chance of getting their portion.
This technique doesn’t always work though. Jody was particularly persistent this afternoon and she knows that agreeable Foxie will usually give up some of her lunch without a fuss.
This kind of behavior is normal in chimpanzee group dynamics. Higher ranking chimpanzees can assert themselves over less dominant individuals with concern to food, grooming, enrichment, etc. As caregivers, it is our job to respect the hierarchy, while making sure there is plenty to go around for everyone.