I Wish I Could Play With The Chimps All Day

I Wish I Could Play With The Chimps All Day

Working with chimps that have been raised by humans and rescued from the pet and entertainment industry is an incredibly unique experience. These chimps are so much more interested in what the people around them are doing and would often prefer to hang out up in the aerial tunnels, watching all the human activity than enjoy the expansive yard that is the Big Outdoor enclosure. Because the chimpanzee residents of Chimps Inc were raised by humans they really crave human attention. While walking by an outdoor enclosure on a busy morning, I find myself distracted by Jackson who goads me into an intense game of chase that goes all the way around the perimeter of the enclosure. Jackson seamlessly cruises along the benches, occasionally having to jump to a higher one, or scale the mesh wall to continue. When I call him a cheater for cutting the corners he comes back to where I’ve stopped and we take a break to make funny faces at each other. He laughs while I catch my breath and then he asks to look inside my mouth and my nose, always curious. Jackson is spending the day in a group with Topo, Patti, and Thiele, three of the oldest chimp residents at the sanctuary and I imagine him telling me that these old fuddy-duddys don’t know how to keep up with me. I tell Jackson that I have to get back to work, being very aware of how much time I’ve spent avoiding cleaning to spend some time with Jackson, but every time I move he winds up for another round. I wish I could spend all day helping Jackson burn off some energy but alas there is so much work involved in taking care of them it is not always possible. I am always incredibly grateful for every small, momentary interaction that I get with the chimps, each time I pass by them.

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Kaleigh R., Caregiver/Social Media Editor