My blog days always seem to be the quietest (e.g., last Sunday), which is odd given all the drama we have been experiencing lately. As we’ve mentioned, the chimps have been resting and recuperating after an attempt to introduce the remaining chimps did not go as hoped on Wednesday.
Because we rushed to separate the chimpanzees after severe fights repeatedly erupted in the Playroom, they ended up in slightly unusual social and spatial configurations. Burrito is physically isolated in one part of the building, with visual and auditory contact with the chimps in the Playroom. In there, Negra was effortlessly reintegrated with Honey B, Mave and Willy B and has been in her preferred state of passive cohabitation with them ever since. On the other side of the “Howdy Door,” in the newer wing of the building, Annie, Foxie, Jamie, Jody and Missy are spending time exploring the novel surroundings and trying to glimpse their familiar neighbors.
We’ve been giving the group of five females access to Young’s Hill via the outdoor chute. Today, however, the weather was damp and chilly and they spent most of their time goofing around in the Mezzanine.
Overall, things have been a bit odd lately. We’re planning on using this weird arrangement to the chimpanzees’ advantage, however, by giving certain individuals more opportunities to get to know each other. The tentative plan is to keep moving forward with the integration of the two groups, albeit in a more gradual and controlled manner. For now, we’re letting the chimpanzees hang out with their closest friends and (metaphorically and literally) lick their wounds.
Burrito was bitten a few times during Wednesday’s scraps and is probably sore from all the running, jumping, flailing and screaming (because, in case you haven’t heard, chimp fights can be physically and emotionally intense, even between friends). Although he immediately reconciled with Willy B and recovered quickly in spirit, he has needed some time to recuperate without the excitement and tension of another introduction. He definitely seems interested in the chimpanzees occupying the adjacent spaces, so we’re all eager for him to be back in the mix when he’s back to full strength. He certainly acts like he’s ready.
He’s also been taking some incredible naps. He’s not a skilled builder of nests, so volunteer Erin crafted a blanket nest for him during routine cleaning this morning. He loved it.
Burrito isn’t the only one eager for the next steps. The chimps are certainly aware of their neighbors, and most seem to be anxiously anticipating their next opportunity to interact. Willy, for example, continues to listen to the neighboring females from the safety of the Playroom. We’re not sure how the next meeting will go, but we’re continuing to be hopeful and trust that the chimps will figure it out eventually.