Trying Something New

May 11th, 2017 by Elizabeth

Almost six years after Young’s Hill opened, there are still parts of the two-acre outdoor habitat that Negra hasn’t explored. She seems to feel safer and more comfortable with a roof over her head. When she does go outside, she tends to stick close to the building in case she gets spooked and needs to run back inside quickly.

You can imagine our surprise and joy this afternoon as we watched Negra venture clear up to the top of Young’s Hill and plant herself calmly on a mound of wild greens. She had never been on this part of the hill before but she didn’t seem to be worried about that. The whole sanctuary held its breath as we stopped and watched in awe. She looked so small up there.

After awhile she crossed a log bridge and continued her exploration.

She stopped in to sample the grass growing under Twister.

You can just see Negra under the structure on the left, with Foxie on the right.

Eventually it was time to make her way back down the hill, but she was in no hurry.

14 Responses to “Trying Something New”

  1. Connie Buckley says:

    I find that so impressive. 6 years of never being coerced, threatened, shamed, blamed…she was able to make that move on her own…in her own time. For me, this speaks a lot about human PTSD. She had to finally heal herself, in her own time, in her own way. She is inspirational! A role model for us all. Thank you, Elizabeth for this post and to CSNW for allowing this healing to occur.

  2. sherry rogers says:

    All of you must have felt like exploding with happiness. What a great accomplishment for her and all of you !! Perhaps time does help to heal old wounds.

    This may be an exciting summer for Negra. It will be fun to see how far she is willing to go and what new adventures may come her way. It was good to see Foxie close by, maybe for a little reassurance.

    Thanks for the great post. Sweet, sweet Negra.

  3. Kathy B says:

    Way to go Negra, we love you.

  4. Denice says:


  5. Althea says:

    I could barely see the pictures through my tears of happiness for Negra💝She looked calm and relaxed – enjoying her explorations and greens. I love you Negra💖

  6. Jo says:

    Beautiful and wonderful ~ the vibrations were right and she felt free to be herself in new areas ~ thank you so much for letting us into their lives! Blessings and love to you all!

  7. Kathleen says:

    Oh Negra, dear sweet Negra. Two years in a row Negra ventures beyond the anxiety and into a place unknown and finds it is safe, quiet, and full of her sweet springtime grass. She is far braver than I could ever be! Needless to say, this post left we teary eyed, touched, inspired, and grateful that Negra was rescued by all of you. Thanks for the photos of her brave adventure. Love that she is bringing back some snacks for later! I guess you can all exhale and breathe easy, you have given Negra security and she knows it!

  8. PatC says:

    Negra’s Spring Fling….what a day! <3

  9. Elaine Reininger says:

    Heartwarming post. Like all the other contributors, I found my eyes welling up. So glad you all happened to be in the right place at the right time to reap the benefits of your love and caring. And thank you for allowing all of us to share in the joy of the moment.

  10. Barbara says:

    Sweet Negra. I am so happy for her.

  11. Francoise says:

    What a thrill. And how groundbreaking. Negra’s life is expanding by the day, and yet she knows she can go inside and hide under a blanket whenever she wants. Somewhere in her soul, she is singing.

  12. Jeani Goodrich says:

    What a joy to share Negra’s sweet pleasure. It’s been so long for her to enjoy that freedom of being by herself in the sun and grass. It is so wonderful to see the growth of all the chimps as they get bolder in their strength and self assurance. Every year I wonder what next? But I never dreamed it would be Negra climbing Young’s Hill. What a thrill.

  13. Lori says:

    What a pleasure to watch Negra stepping into new spaces as her comfort zone expands. Brave girl. One wonders what goes on in the minds of these beautiful creatures! What a special day.