Sharing space with other people can be difficult, especially when one of those people is Jamie.
This week, Jamie has been a little bit more irritable than her usual baseline. This may be because we have just finished weaning her off of the contraceptive that we used as a safeguard during social integrations. Jamie’s genitalia have consequently resumed their regular cycle and are presently enlarged, presumably altering her mood. She’s even more dramatic, determined, and dominant than her normal self. She’s even grown possessive over snow despite the fact that it will be practically unlimited over the next few months.
The other females have been giving Jamie a wide berth to stay clear of her path. Today, when Chad and I gave the chimpanzees access to Young’s Hill, she was the first one out into the slushy yard. A few of her female peers followed her out at a safe distance. Annie, Missy, and Jody wanted to explore the snow-covered meadow, too.
The four girls dispersed out onto the wooden structures that watch over the sanctuary. They had been taking in the winter scenery and dining on wet snow for a few minutes when Foxie poked her head out of the Greenhouse and tip-toed out onto Young’s Hill to join them. Chad and I had just seen Foxie playfully twirling and bouncing around the warmer indoor spaces, but we were surprised to see her outside. To be honest, she did not seem to enjoy being outdoors in the cold. Her hair stood out straight and her face contorted into a tense sneer. She was only brave enough to venture out onto the bridge of fallen logs that forms a solid path between the Greenhouse and the closest structures. She sat there quietly for several minutes.
Of course the other females did not want to remain outside in the damp mist for very long, either. Missy was the first to make her way back, followed by Annie and Jody. However, Foxie was still perched on the log bridge and seemed to be blocking their path. The ground on either side of the bridge was soggy and cold, so Missy and Annie seemed determined to get around Foxie somehow. Annie even tried to walk with one foot on the fallen logs and the other on the tiny islands of dry earth. Her flexibility and determination were impressive but unsuccessful.
This subtle drama unfolded gradually and quietly, but everyone started to look more panicked when Jamie came trudging down the Hill, hauling an enlarged backside and an inflated attitude along with her. Missy desperately tried to get Foxie to move as if Jamie was a freight train that was about to run them over. Eventually, after some coarse vocalizations and physical pushing, Foxie turned around and the chimpanzee pile-up was cleared just as Jamie arrived. The imminent crisis was averted.
Back in the building, we have been provisioning all of the chimpanzees with plenty of fresh snow. Even Willy B and Honey B have been sampling this Washingtonian delicacy and seem to be developing a taste for it. This way, even those who don’t want to brave the cold can still get some of this seasonal treat and partake in the winter fun.