How could you not ALREADY be in love with Dora?!? Okay, I guess I’ll forgive you if you need some convincing, but buckle in and prepare yourself to fall hard for the wonderful, sometimes spicy, silly lady that is Dora.
Dora was born at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) on June 6th, 1989. Her records say that her mother was Stella and her father was Les. She has many half siblings including Gordo (they have the same father, Les), who came with her from Wildlife Waystation and lives with her in her current group. She also has a half sister, Amber, who now lives at Chimp Haven, and several other half siblings at other sanctuaries including Pumpkin at Save the Chimps. I had the opportunity to work with Amber at my previous job, and can see several similarities between her and Dora. Amber and Dora are both very friendly with others in their groups, and can be quite quirky and silly. They strongly resemble each other in my opinion as well!
Pumpkin, photos from Save the Chimps
Amber, photo from Chimp Haven
Dora, in the same pose as Amber above
Dora arrived at CSNW in 2021 after Wildlife Waystation had closed in 2019, requiring that new homes be found for their many residents. Dora came to the sanctuary with Cy, Terry, Gordo, Rayne, and Lucky (the Lucky Six) and her group was then integrated with Willy B’s group (Willy B, Honey B, and Mave). If you’re new to the blog, Dora is now best friends with Mave, and one is rarely seen without the other. They comfort each other in times of stress and support each other (for the most part) during times of conflict. Even the best of friends do occasionally have their differences though, and Mora (Mave+Dora) is no exception. Just last week, Dora seemed to have decided that the cherry tomatoes for Mave were cherry tomatoes for Dora. It became very offensive to Dora when Mave took the cherry tomatoes, and Dora screamed and hit at Mave, which turned into a brief dispute in the group. While each of them were very upset, they were also quick to reconcile and back to being the best of friends.
Mora, as seen through the hand box
Grooming time with Mora
Mave and Dora playing
Mave holding Dora’s toes, and Mave and Dora hands
Mave hugging Dora
One of my favorite activities to do with Dora is to train with her using positive reinforcement training. She loves training and gets very excited to participate. She knows a lot of different behaviors, but also gets so eager to train that she sometimes wants to play with the human training with her, which is a rarity for me with Dora. Recently when I was training with her, she put both of her feet up, sticking all her toes through the caging, and made a play face. I tapped her toes with the back of my wrist, much like I often do with Burrito, and she continued with her playful antics and seemed to love it. We trained a little bit more, she got more delicious snacks, and we just had a great time together. It was the highlight of my week!
Dora has also graced me with a few grooming sessions so far. When she is interested in spending time together, I will drop just about everything to make that happen. One of my favorite moments with her was early on in my time working here, shortly after I was cleared to interact with the chimps on my own. Dora came up to the caging as I was cleaning across the hall, gave me a brief look, then sat down. I noticed her looking at me and stepped over to greet her, and she presented her head to me as if she wanted me to scratch it. I waited a moment, and then she turned so that I could safely touch her arm with my knuckle, and I gently rubbed her arm with my knuckle while she sat with me. After about a minute, the moment was over and she was off to her next activity.
When it comes time for meals, Dora is most excited if there is corn on the menu. She enjoys a lot of other foods and her chow, but there is just something extra delicious about corn. She is picky with her smoothies, so you should always feel accomplished if you make a smoothie that Dora gulps down!
Dora eating corn
Dora with her smoothie cup
Dora is a very special chimpanzee, and I feel so fortunate to get the opportunity to know and love her. She is silly, especially with her chimp friends, and can make a game out of anything. The girl knows how to have fun! She knows what she wants, and will stand up for herself when needed but is not usually one to start drama. She is a loyal friend, there to provide support when needed and quick to offer a hug or reassurance that everything is okay. She is the kind of friend everyone needs.
Thank you to Dora’s current pals Vicki, Monica, Lisa, Victoria & Emelia, Barbara, Precious, Janet, and Leslie for supporting and loving the wonderful chimpanzee person that is Dora. If you’d like to be pals with Dora, visit our website today!