Today was weird, weather-wise. It started out super windy, then the wind subsided and it was nice enough for some outside time for the chimpanzees, then it snowed like it was going to never stop, until it stopped less than an hour later, and finally the sun announced itself as confidently as a spring day, completely erasing all traces of the snowstorm.
We talked it over with Dr. Erin and decided that, with the sun shining, and despite Jamie and her crew being a bit on edge earlier in the day, it was time for Burrito to go back with his group. I was nervous. His recovery has been long and he’s not back to his full strength, but when I went to “talk” to him, he pulled on the door to the greenhouse, letting me know that’s what he wanted to do. I held my breath and hoped for the best. Sometimes that’s all you can do with chimpanzees.
Because he’s been having social time with a few friends in the greenhouse these last weeks, I first let Jamie, Jody, and Foxie in with him and gave them all greenhouse access.
I thought he would be very keen to get back into the playroom since he hasn’t had access to that space in weeks, but when I opened the door to the playroom, Missy and Annie went out and the whole crew (minus nesting Negra), took off for a patrol around Young’s Hill.
It was glorious.
Lucky for you, J.B. followed along and captured some video of the walk, while I got a few photos.
He looks good out there!
Here he is between Jamie and Foxie:
Missy waiting for him:
When he got into the playroom finally, he and Negra greeted each other enthusiastically, and then everyone went about things as though no time had passed. Right now he is sleeping in the loft of the playroom.
We are still monitoring an injury on one of his toes and he sometimes walks on his wrist, but overall he’s doing great, and the extra exercise and social companionship will hopefully serve him well. Now we just need to convince the “girl gang” to stay calm for a while.
In case there is any lingering questions – we do not have plans to integrate Burrito with Willy B, Mave, and Honey B because of the conflict that caused Burrito’s injuries. Maybe there will be structured social time (“play dates”) in the future between members of the different groups, but maybe not, and not for sometime, in any case.
So, we’re back to the original seven on the old side of the building and the new three on the new side, with plans to start construction as early as we can in the spring. The next phases will give Willy B, Mave, and Honey B more space and will allow us to bring in another group of chimpanzees.
We’re looking forward to whatever the future holds, but today it was just nice to see Burrito outside with old friends in the sun.