To start, if you haven’t read Anthony’s final blog from Monday, I would stop here and go read his blog first. He very beautifully wrote about his experiences in sanctuary and the new journey he is about to start, but he also described the life of a caregiver. To be a caregiver is a true honor, but it also comes with many challenges. There are moments like the one I am going to write about today that make everything worth the hard parts, but then you have days of watching your friends fight and there is nothing you can do to help (which might just be the hardest part of the job). I digress though, I encourage you to read his blog!
For me personally, watching chimps who struggle socially develop strong relationships with other chimps is one of the most extraordinary parts of the job. Facilitating chimp introductions may have been one of the most stressful points in my career, but it was also one of the most rewarding as well. Now that they are a fully integrated group, I catch amazing moments every day between Honey B and Dora in particular, both with other individuals in their group and with each other. I feel so immensely proud of them. With their own quirks, they each left us unsure of how they would integrate in the very beginning of the introduction stage. This is not a new story I am telling; many of you who follow the blog know that we had a few individuals that we referred to as “wild cards.” What I didn’t expect was for Dora to become Miss Popular or for Honey B to sometimes be the cool, calm and collected one in the group. One might even go as far as saying that she may occasionally be a peace-keeper, and has developed strong relationships with multiple people in her group! This is just proof that chimps really do belong in larger groups with more social stimulation. I am not exactly sure what I am getting at today, but I am just really, really happy for them!
It is not so surprising that Honey B let the sweet, tiny, but also mighty Dora into her social circle. They did live with each other at Wildlife Waystation at some point, so they were not wholly unfamiliar. As Terry knows, however, it doesn’t always matter if you have history; you still have to put the work in for a friendship! (Fortunately, Honey B and Terry are good friends now.) While Terry had to work hard for Honey B’s affection, Dora did not. What a wild experience it must be to think that you won’t ever see or live with someone again and then end up back together. I hope you enjoy this video of Honey B and Dora, the two most likely friends :).
Bonus photo of Foxie: