Getting Approval from the Chimps

Getting Approval from the Chimps

As I train to take on more responsibility around the sanctuary and learn new things, I find myself being constantly observed and judged by the chimps. While practicing opening and closing chimp doors around the sanctuary and learning their locking mechanisms, I suddenly feel a lot of pressure to do well as I look behind me and see Herbie, Emma, and Jackson all lined up in the window like an audience. It’s clear they understand that changes are taking place, as they watch me practice doing tasks that I’ve never been allowed to do before.

While learning to use the feed doors, I shifted one too quickly and clumsily and accidently spilled all the juice I was trying to give to Patti. Patti picked up the empty cup, looked inside, and looked at all the juice, now spilled all over in the feed door, then looked back up at me. She continued peering between me and the empty cup with the look of a child that was about to cry because they didn’t understand why this unfortunate thing had happened to them. I’ve never seen Patti look so disappointed. I quickly apologized and ran to get her a replacement.

Even Alfonz, the Siberian Lynx seems to notice the changes, and spends more time watching me as I feed and care for the lynx enclosures. When I tagged along as an observer he had little interest in me, but now he watches me closely as if he finds it strange that I am there.

Learning new things around the sanctuary makes every day even more exciting. Hopefully the chimps will forgive any spilled juice during the learning curve.


Kaleigh, Caregiver/Social Media Editor