Asking the Chimps for Help

Asking the Chimps for Help

Getting the chimps to come inside for dinner can be a real challenge some days, especially when the weather is still nice and sunny. This week, all of the chimps had come inside and were ready and waiting for dinner…except Jackson. Jackson insisted on staying outdoors, occasionally peeking his head inside as if taunting me to try and beat him to the door in time. After some time had gone by, I noticed Jackson was inside, I ran to close the door before he rushed back outside. I could hardly believe my luck, that I had made it to the door before Jackson came back out. When I tried closing the door though, it was blocked by a carefully place line of four shoes and a blanket. After seeing that my attempts to close the door had failed, Jackson peeked his head out, held the door open, and ran back out side. He seemed to be having a great time.

Noticing the door still open, Herbie made his way back outdoors also. “Herbie, can you move those shoes for me please?” I said to him. Herbie went back inside, taking the shoes with him but leaving behind another blanket blocking the door!

When I walked back indoors, I was greeted by Thiele who grunted loudly, signalling that she was ready for dinner. Jackson came back indoors and sat next to Thiele but with that blanket in the way I still wasn’t able to close the door. “Thiele, can you go get that blanket?” I asked, pointing at the end of the tunnel. “I’ll give you dinner first.” Thiele grunted and made her way up the ladder to retrieve the blanket, but suddenly Jackson lept onto the ladder just above Thiele’s head and rushed back outside as if he realized his plan was about to be ruined. Thiele looked at me as if to say “sorry, I tried.”

It was getting pretty late now so I took Jackson’s dinner bag outside to him and showed him the contents. He peered at the items I was holding intently as I showed them to him. “You get an onion….and a bell pepper….ooohh and mashed potatoes!” Well as soon as Jackson saw that cup of mashed potatoes his eyes got wide and he ran inside full speed, pulling all obstacles out of the way behind him.

The intelligence of chimpanzees can be both a blessing and a curse when you’re taking care of them, but it impresses me every day.


Kaleigh R., Caregiver/Social Media Editor