Even though the chimpanzees always live together as one group, Negra chooses to spend a lot of her time alone – often curled up in a big comfortable nest with a blanket over her head. She has a favorite spot on the catwalk of the playroom by the windows where she can lay in her nest and still keep an eye on things but remain out of the fray.
When she’s not in her nest, we frequently find her near her mound of blankets, looking out of the window. I see Negra gazing out of the windows in a way that I rarely witness the other chimpanzees doing.
She can spend long periods of time taking in the view that includes the cattle and horses on the neighboring property, the old highway, and the railroad. Negra exudes serenity in these quiet, private moments.
Even us introverts benefit from the company of others, though. Sometimes it helps to have a friend insist that you spend time with them. Missy in particular makes sure that Negra remains part of the social fabric. Missy is the self-appointed doctor of the group, examining every body part and tending to wounds. You might say that Missy has a healing touch.
After years of forced-isolation, the opportunity for Negra to develop long-lasting and trusting relationships with the other chimpanzees is one of the greatest gifts that this sanctuary has given.