Maybe like a lot of people who begin to study primatology, my initial interest was centered around humans and human evolution. I was fascinated with our closest living great ape relatives, partly because of the intriguing stories they helped to tell about our common ancestors.
And then I met some chimpanzees in person.
I became interested in their relationships with one another and how they functioned as a group.
When directly caring for chimpanzees and not just studying them, when facing them one-on-one and looking into their eyes, I then wanted to know who they were as individuals.
What did they care about? What made them happy?
How could I help them live the best possible life? Lives that were so far away and so different from the lives they should have experienced in the wild in equatorial Africa.
How could I share their incredible personalities and complexity with others, so that they too would see them as individuals worthy of concern?
Sometimes this blog seems like a small effort that reaches just a few dedicated readers. But then I learn of new people who follow the lives of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary. I know the blog, with all six of the caregivers at CSNW sharing our own stories and thoughts, reaches some incredible people who have fallen in love with the chimpanzees just as much as I have.
I’m thankful for every one of you who are part of this family.