My Little Helper, Thiele

My Little Helper, Thiele

One night at dinner time, I made my rounds to secure all outside doors before serving the chimps with their dinner bags.  When I reached the top floor of the Playhouse, I spotted Jackson sitting by the door.  I started to close the door and Jackson shook his head as if to say “nooot yeeet” and he thoughtfully put a black boot in the track of the door so that it wouldn’t close.  I opened up the door again and asked him to remove his boot.  He laughed and put a finger on it as if to tease me that he would actually move the boot.  I started to close the door again and he laughed at my failure.  We played this game for approximately 15 minutes each time he would motion for me to ‘try it again’, laughing each time it wouldn’t close.  I finally decided to call for ‘back up’. All the other chimps were waiting patiently for their dinner bags, and Jackson was clearly holding up the process.  I went into the Chimp House where I saw Thiele sitting in the enclosure that joined the playhouse.  I said “Thiele, are you ready for dinner?”  She grunted and pointed to the feed door.  I said, “I will serve you dinner first if you help me with Jackson.  Come into the playhouse with me.”  She followed me into the playhouse.  I said “Upstairs”.  She promptly climbed the platform to go to the upper level.  Jackson was still sitting at his post, with the boot still blocking the door track.  I explained to Thiele; “Jackson won’t let me shut the door so I can serve dinner.”  She stomped over to the door, shoeing Jackson away; she took the boot and flung it at him with a disapproving grunt.  She looked at me, pointed and motioned for me to go ahead and shut the door while she stood guard.  I closed the door and she quickly returned to her spot in the chimp house, waiting for me to make good on my promise.  I wasted no time returning to her enclosure with her dinner bag in hand.  She grunted with delight as she had gotten her dinner before anyone else. It truly is amazing how intelligent they are.  More than we give them credit for, for sure! ~ Marla, Sanctuary Director