Working Alongside The Chimps

Working Alongside The Chimps

With winter approaching, we have been working on projects like tarping outdoor enclosures, landscaping, and resetting the garden. Today, I helped caregiver Makaela continue layering the garden with newspaper and mulch. The chimps had access to the Garden enclosure, which meant Emma, Jackson and Herbie all had chances to come over and see what we were doing. Emma and Jackson were content to just look on; Herbie got bored after a while and wanted to play with Makaela.

The philosophical conundrum of animals’ thoughts and comprehension has always interested me. The chimps often watch us working, and I wonder if they have an idea of what’s going on; if there’s some way in which they understand the purpose of our actions. I’m pretty sure they understand something like enclosure cleaning and what that means for their own access to different locations, but what level of understanding do they have about something like gardening? No matter how deep their own understanding of what we’re up to, it’s always enjoyable to be working alongside them.

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Wyatt H., Intern