Playing Chase with Jackson

Playing Chase with Jackson

Jackson is the chimp that reminds me most of a kid, which makes sense since he is an adolescent. After being here for a few days, I came out one morning, saw Jackson, and the look on his face clearly stated “Hey! Let’s play!!” I spent much of that day just running back and forth outside of the enclosure playing chase with Jackson, and each time we got to the other side his body language was so clearly playful. I remember thinking how, without the use of words or even sounds, I was able to distinguish between Jackson being aggressive and playful. Smiling, rocking back and forth, and then off! I chased him back and forth. I don’t know who was having more fun with it, me or him! Then we stopped and sat and I started hitting the ground to a rhythm, which got Jackson going all over again. He loves bobbing his head and rocking as I hit the ground. And without sounding like I am exaggerating, it felt like we were dancing together, which I thought was really amazing. Jackson is such a playful chimp and he is always fun to interact with. Playing chase with him (which quickly became a daily activity) has given me a whole new respect and perspective with these chimps, as well as comfort to be more active with all of the other chimps here. I can see how I have gotten better at simply being around each of them, which has been incredible in itself!

Nathan, Intern