The seven resident chimps have something new to occupy their time: neighbors.
With Willy B, Mave and Honey B settling in next door, Burrito and the gang were busy trying to peer through the cracks above and below the Howdy Door. Last week, we locked a metal insert into place so that the door is a solid barrier while the new arrivals are quarantined. This additional surface restricts their ability to interact and see each other, but chimpanzees from the two groups can still hear each other. This is especially noticeable whenever a chimp displays or hoots and the individuals in the adjacent area react accordingly.
As seen in the above video, Foxie was particularly nervous about the door today. She kept returning to it and listening until something happened to make her retreat. Burrito was also inspecting it periodically, usually with his hair piloerect.
On the other side, Willy B seemed interested in the door and occasionally drummed a response. Mave has a habit of politely knocking on the door with her knuckles. So far, only Honey B seems more invested in watching the human caregivers and exploring her new surroundings.
As the days go by and the quarantine period progresses, the prospect of beginning the introduction process grows closer. It’s difficult to determine how each individual will fare when allowed to meet a complete stranger. The Howdy Door and adjacent enclosures will help the integration of the two groups to be a gradual and controlled procedure, enabling us to cater the environment to each chimpanzee’s needs and preferences. This way, when the doors finally open and the groups merge, none of them will be strangers anymore.