It will be a little while still before we are able to construct the two larger outdoor areas for Lucky’s group and Honey B’s group (we’re planning to begin this fall). In the meantime, Lucky, Cy, Gordo, Dora, Rayne, and Terry got their chance to explore “the chute”, which is a short tunnel that will connect their playroom, greenhouse, and other enclosures to the open-top enclosure to be known as The Bray. The chute may not seem like the most exciting thing in the world but any new space is fun to explore. And we’ll let you in on a secret – while people love to see chimps in large outdoor habitats, many captive-reared chimps seem to prefer overhead tunnels to almost anything else! That’s why we should always strive to provide them with variety and the ability to choose.
The two groups from the Wildlife Waystation are used to living near other groups of chimps – and lions and wolves, for that matter. So living within sight of a new group of chimpanzees is no big deal. But the chimps in Jamie’s group went without seeing other chimps for decades and as a result they react a bit differently at first. As in, they go a bit crazy. This is not the first they’ve seen of Lucky’s group, but it’s closer than what they’re used to and it was cause for some alarm and a lot of excitement. The group’s anxiety was short-lived and soon Burrito was angling for the attention of some new playmates-at-a-distance and Jody was flirting with the new boys in town.
The first order of business this morning was to patrol Young’s Hill. Negra, as always, stayed behind, as did Annie on this occasion. But the others set out as a group around the perimeter of their 2-acre habitat. Meanwhile, Lucky’s group took their breakfast to the top of the chute and wondered what all the fuss was about.