The girls have been so sweet towards Burrito during his recovery. You know things are returning to normal when they stop doting on him and start trying to take advantage of him.
She’s really smart.
This morning, as I was putting away a squeegee, I accidentally knocked a broom off of the tool rack. I watched it slide to within inches of the playroom caging and before my brain could finish processing the thought that Jamie might be able to grab it, Jamie grabbed it.
Now, the most important thing to convey here is that Jamie really likes to stab and/or threaten to stab humans when she obtains contraband like this. So the first thing you do in this situation is take a big step back. Then you watch helplessly as she tries to knock smoke detectors off the ceiling (a real possibility) and jimmy open every door and window in the chimp house (not going to happen with a broom stick, thankfully).
But today was different. As soon as she had the broom she walked off with clear purpose and intent. And the whole gang gathered behind her as if Jamie had given the cue and the secret plan they had been hatching for weeks was finally called into action.
Their mission: To see inside the new addition.
We’ve given them glimpses into the new quarantine and introduction area connected to their playroom before, but during the construction process we’ve largely kept the door covered with a piece of plywood to protect workers from getting spit on and to keep the building heat in. Clearly we didn’t consult the chimps about that plan, and they were forced to take the matter into their own hands.
Sometimes the chimpanzees do something we’ve never seen before. Once in a while we are able to capture it on video!
The volunteers set out a forage on the hill this morning.
After an initial course of smoothie, vitamins, and peanuts, the chimps went outside to search for pieces of orange, plum, grapefruit, and banana as well as some primate chow.
Jamie (below and at the top of the post):
Burrito, confronting the dilemma faced by most male chimpanzees from time immemorial – do I feed myself and otherwise engage in the basic behaviors necessary to sustain life, or I do I follow that girl in estrus wherever she goes? For the most part, he chose the latter (poor Jody), but he did manage to grab a few scraps of food along the way.
Annie, developing a nice wadge of primate chow:
Not to be outdone, Jody made a wadge of her own:
And finally, Foxie:
Though we didn’t fill the termite mound with food this morning, Foxie nevertheless checked its contents using a tool and technique never seen before in any wild population: Strawberry Shortcake dipping.
Jamie may be one of the fastest and strongest chimps in her group, but why work so hard when you don’t have to?
We’re always on the hunt for new enrichment ideas. Here are a couple simple ones that we’ve recently introduced. Both are Jamie-approved!