Jamie and Burrito are undeniably the most human-focused of the chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. They seek the attention of humans frequently, as evidenced by the many videos of humans walking around the hill “with” Jamie or playing tug of war with Burrito.
It’s probably no coincidence that both of them grew up in a human environment when they were very young. Burrito was a “pet” and Jamie was owned by a trainer. They may not have had the experience of having other chimpanzees around them until they got older.
All of the chimpanzees at CSNW, when compared to their wild counterparts, could be considered misfits. None of them grew up in a large family group in equatorial Africa, clinging to their mothers and playing with siblings. For Jamie and Burrito, though, they are even greater misfits because they identified with the humans.
And yet, they are still chimpanzees, and they now get to live with others of their species.
Burrito and Jamie don’t have the friendliest of relationships. Every once in a while, however, like today, I’ll find these two misfits just being chimpanzees and grooming each other – showing no interest in the humans in that moment, even when one appears with a camera in hand.
It’s a reminder that they are capable of knowing and understanding one another in ways that we humans will never be able to access.
And that is a beautiful thing.