Jody is not the most athletic of chimpanzees. During her first years at the sanctuary she wasn’t always interested in traversing the great outdoors unless it was to forage for wild greens to bring back to her nest and she typically preferred to spend her days lounging with abandon, taking it easy. When she did decide to ramp up her activity a bit, our hearts swelled watching her endearing, but awkward attempts at climbing, running, and even brachiating. All run of the mill stuff for chimpanzees. But understandably, after decades spent in a space the size of a bathroom stall, she needed time to rest, recover and heal before the rebuilding could begin.
With the exception of Negra, Jody is also the most cold aversive of the group, so when she ran outside into the lower 20 degree morning today, clearly with her own agenda to explore every place she possibly could, it made my heart sing. While she still may not be the most agile or sure-footed of chimps, her adventurous and courageous spirit more than make up for it and she continues to grow stronger and more confident every day.
There isn’t much snow left on the ground, but with the temperatures staying below freezing what snow there is has pretty much turned to ice. But even that didn’t deter Jody this morning. Not to be outshone by resident athlete, Missy, Jody seemed to have decided to run her own Olympics course, in classic Jo Jo style.
Heading up the icy hill, she opted to utilize the firehose to hang onto as she bravely ventured onto the tundra:
Back down the hill she stopped to see if she could chip off an ice snack:
Her hair is pilo-erect (hair standing on end) due to both the cold and her excitement (notice that happy droopy lip!):
Nice lunge, Jo!
From here she quickly made her way up to the climbing structures to cross the swinging bridges:
I think this was my favorite moment! The structures were covered in ice and as she cautiously made her way across, she started to slide backward here, but she didn’t give up:
She made it! Looking pretty pleased with herself, as she should be:
No time to waste, she cautiously headed back across:
Here is a glimpse of Jody’s self-appointed coach/spotter/stalker, Burrito, who bravely, but reluctantly, followed her into the freezing temps every step of the way:
Making her way back down the hill toward the greenhouse Jody found a huge chunk of ice. A gold medal by her standards: