Grooming sessions like these often serve as a counterweight to growing tensions within the group.
One measure of how well the Cle Elum Seven are getting along is how well they shift between enclosures. For example, at times Negra might think it wiser to stay in the playroom and forego a portion of breakfast than to allow herself to be stuck in the greenhouse with a raging Burrito. Or Jody may decide that she doesn’t have the energy to deal with Jamie’s dinnertime harassment and refuse to enter the playroom for a forage. In both cases, it’s not where they’re moving to that’s the problem – it’s who their moving with.
Lately, shifting has been a little more difficult than usual. While the chimps aren’t the slightest bit concerned about rearranging our cleaning schedule (nor should they be), they do have an interest in maintaining a stable and cohesive group. So it’s not surprising to see them participating in large grooming parties like this.
We’ll see if it’s enough to get us into the greenhouse for morning cleaning tomorrow…