The chimpanzees have been remarkably nonchalant about the giant wing that was added on to their building this spring. Curious at times for sure, but for the most part just going about their days as usual. With the exception of Annie.
Ever since that day last year when we moved the trailer away from the barn doors in preparation for construction to begin, Annie has spent time at those doors peering in, as she is in this photo (she’s the one standing up), or just sitting next to the doors, listening:
The other chimpanzees have been tuned in when something really interesting and new happens, like at the end of January when the hydraulic door on the other side of the barn doors was operated for the first time:
Today though, it was Missy who was spending quite a bit of time hanging out near that doorway to the unknown.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, she did not spend the whole day camped out there. She had other things to do:
I’d love to know what Missy is thinking, what all of the chimpanzees are thinking, about what awaits them on the other side of that door.
Missy has no idea that next month she will be able to look through that door and see the face of her 30 year-old daughter, Honey B. We have the same question as everyone else – will they feel a connection to one another?
They spent less than 24 hours together when Honey B was born to Missy at the Laboratory for Experimental and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), so it would be extraordinary if they recognized each other by sight. Chimpanzees’ sense of smell is just about as lousy as ours, so that’s not going to help them know each other. It really is like a human mom and baby who were separated at birth. Maybe there will be some kind of connection that even they don’t understand; or maybe it will be the same as Missy with Mave and Willy B – strangers (as far as we know) meeting for the first time.
There are a lot of unknowns.
What is certain is that the chimpanzees are ever more curious about what is going to happen on the other side of that door. Tonight when I went in to the playroom to spot clean I discovered that someone had used a willow branch as a tool to reach a lock on that door.
Soon, chimpanzees, soon.