When the chimpanzees first had access to the two-acre Young’s Hill enclosure in 2011, it was pretty intimidating for some of them. Annie, Foxie, and Negra were among the more wary of the large space and unfamiliar surroundings.
In those early days, J.B. wrote about Annie’s reluctance and Missy encouraging her and about Negra seeking reassurance from Jamie when she got a little spooked after summoning the courage to go out there in the first few weeks. He also wrote about a little motivation game that Foxie seemed to invent that got her outside even when she was hesitant.
The experience of having this new big space really brought all of the chimps together as a group and we saw them look out for one another in ways we hadn’t seen in the years prior. It was so touching to witness.
Fast forward almost seven years to today…
Foxie split off from her walking group:
Jake and I completely lost track of her until we spotted her again at the top of the hill on the towers with her red haired doll:
Jody was looking for Foxie too, and climbed up to make sure all was okay before she went about her own business:
Annie went out with Missy first thing, but then completely disappeared on her own, foraging for her favorite plants:
I noticed Missy keeping an eye on Annie, just like the friend that she’s always been:
Negra broke free of her usual forage pathway at lunch and climbed up on the shaky bridge (this is highly unusual, based on the old Negra, but maybe part of a new normal level of adventure for her):
Each year these seven chimpanzees gain more confidence, but they needed each other for encouragement, motivation, and someone to follow along the way. And even in their newfound independence, they continue to look out for one another.