When training new volunteers and staff, learning to identify the chimps is very important. The chimps all have distinguishing features about them. Staff will try to give helpful pointers to help figure out who is who. For example, Foxie has what looks like a bow tie on her swelling, some chimps have defined brow ridges like Jody, and Missy is petite and has a short neck. Some have freckles, permanently crazy bed hair, different body types, and others have scars or pieces of ears or toes missing. There is also the way that they carry themselves. Jamie often walks with confidence and always looks like she is 3 steps ahead of you. You can often find certain chimps in a particular area that they like or holding specific enrichment they are fond of. For example, Negra loves to make a nest on the second floor in the corner of the playroom. However, this is where it gets tricky and why we tell staff and volunteers to judge only by physical characteristics and not by what we know they like or where “their spot” is. I have also seen little Miss nesting in the same spot as Negra! Jamie loves boots and Foxie always has a doll with her, but they like to throw us curve balls! I often find someone else holding a doll like Jamie or even today I spotted Negra holding a troll doll and putting it in her pelvic pocket. We train our staff and volunteers to take their time identifying the chimps, get to know the chimps, and especially their physical characteristics!
Negra: Holding a troll doll