Just like humans, chimpanzee interpersonal relationships are complicated. Chimpanzees laugh, play, grieve and generally display all the same emotions that we do. They also fight. Watching a chimpanzee fight can be extremely scary to an onlooker and in my opinion, is one of the least enviable aspects of having to be a chimpanzee. This morning Jamie’s group got into a small fight after reentering the playroom when we finished cleaning (don’t worry, no one was hurt). During the conflict, Jamie and Burrito seemed to be targeting Foxie in particular with their wrath. Jamie would scream and Burrito would chase Foxie, then Foxie would scream at the top of her very considerable register and run away. Rinse and repeat. As you might imagine, it was hard to watch but things died down relatively quickly and we humans continued the cleaning process.
This leads me to one of the most enviable parts of being a chimpanzee… Approximately thirty minutes after the dramatic screaming match, I wondered out to the greenhouse and found Foxie and Burrito calmly grooming on a platform like nothing had happened. Their ability to forgive each other, make amends, strengthen their bond and move forward with their day is truly breathtaking.