Bonding With The Chimps

Bonding With The Chimps

I started my internship with Chimps Inc. three weeks ago and my experiences so far have been truly amazing and a little overwhelming at first. Not being too keen on strangers, the chimps took their time getting used to and warming up to me, and some definitely took longer than others. For the first couple of days most of my interactions with the chimps involved either them displaying aggressively towards me, spitting on me, or some combination of the two. But, just when I was starting to feel discouraged I met my first chimpanzee friend, Herbie. Herbie is a hilarious, sweet, and very good boy (as he never fails to remind us through sign language). My first interaction with him was through the glass wall between the Chimp Kitchen and the Play House where he told me he was a good boy as usual, imitated my actions as I pointed to my ears and mouth, and held his hand up to mine on the glass. He lost interest in me after a couple minutes, but I knew in that moment of the incredible connection between humans and chimpanzees and was determined to bond with all seven of our awesome chimps individually. Since then most of the chimps have become at least somewhat comfortable with me and I get spat on much less frequently, thankfully. Herbie is definitely still my best pal here, but I have had some really good times with all of the chimps, especially Jackson, Emma, and Patti. I am still working on my friendship with Topo, Thiele, and CJ- but I know we will get there in time! I am continuously amazed by the complicated and varied minds and personalities of all of the chimpanzees here. It has been so much fun getting to know all of their individual quirks, talents, and interests so far and I look forward to bonding with them all more in the weeks to come!  

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Natalie L., Intern