On Wednesday, Mave, Honey B, and Willy B were able to access the chute for the first time. This is the overhead tunnel that will connect the Phase 1 enclosures to Young’s Hill once we finish extending the electric fencing. Prior to Wednesday, the three new chimps had only gotten glimpses of the Seven from a distance as they rounded the lower corner of Young’s Hill on their patrols. And the Seven had not been able to see the three at all. On Wednesday they got their first real look at one another.
This “pre-introduction” went about as well as we could have hoped. Yes, there was plenty of screaming. And yes, there was a lot of displaying. Not to mention threat barks, fear grimaces, and requests for reassurance. All to be expected. More importantly, by the end there were also pant-grunts, head nods, genital bounces, and even a little flirty hand-waving (this last one may not be found in the primatological literature but you will know it when you see it). These are all positive signs that the actual introduction process stands a decent chance of being successful. But we won’t know until we try. So stay tuned!