The Other 5% of the Time

December 2nd, 2017 by Diana

Are the chimpanzees at the sanctuary peaceful and quiet all of the time? This video starts to answer that question.



14 Responses to “The Other 5% of the Time”

  1. Carla René says:

    Great video, Diana!

    Question: do the chimpanzees ever seek reassurance from the humans? And if so, what can you really do for them through the bars?


    • Diana says:

      Hi Carla. Good question. They do seek reassurance from the humans. If it’s a situation where there is something outside of the chimp house that has frightened or upset them, then we can give them reassurance with a quick touch to their shoulder or back or other safe area that they can push to the fencing so we are not sticking our fingers into their space. Or they can put their fingers out and we can give them the back of our hand to touch. We can also head nod to them and show them a pronated wrist which is generally a submissive behavior but also okay for reassurance. However, if a chimpanzee is seeking reassurance from a human because of a fight or some other interpersonal situation that has arose within the group, we have a policy to not give them any kind of reassurance because we don’t want to been seen as taking a side and because we obviously can’t back up our reassurance by physically being with them. Our view is that it is important for them to work out their politics on their own with as little human intervention as possible.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Wonderful compilation Diana. I do love the sound of their display hoots. I think it was Burrito displaying alongside the caging — love it, like a beautiful dance. And Jamie appears very intimidating too but something about the purple, mesh Tutu that sort of busted her image on that display. 😁 Hysterical! When I see the chimps display with the big plastic barrels I am reminded of Jane Goodall’s Gombe chimp named Mike and his kerosene cans, making so much noise that he rose to the top of his family. Smart!

    Do the chimps ever hurt themselves banging on their surroundings like in the slow mo video? Ouch, it appeared as if knuckles would be bruised at the very least.

    • Kathleen says:

      One more question, when they toss objects into the air as part of their display, large objects especially, do the objects ever fall down and land on them?

      I am honestly so pleased to know that their WILD remains deep in them! As it should be, even in captivity.

      • Diana says:

        Looking back at the videos made me realize how much more common it was for Jamie to wear clothing in the early years after she arrived at the sanctuary!

        Chimpanzees are definitely tougher than us humans and they don’t seem to bruise very easily. Their hands are one area that is especially tough and calloused, particularly the knuckles on their hands because of their quadrupedal locomotion where they walk on the knuckles of their hands. I have know several chimpanzees (all of them I’ve known are male) who have additional callouses from certain things they do when displaying, like repeatedly using their wrists to bang on things. Burrito’s hands are relatively refined compared to those examples that come to mind :).

        I’ve never seen anyone get hit by an object during a display, but it might happen once in a while. They tend to throw and then run in the opposite direction, and the other chimps for the most part stay out of their way during displays, so maybe that’s why.

        I agree that it’s good they still have wild in them!

        • Kathleen says:

          Thank you for your answers. I have viewed the video numerous times. Their displays are theater!

  3. Jo Lathrop says:

    Fabulous and wonderful and thank you so much ~ so glad to see them being themselves and feeling comfortable doing that. U All ROCK!! Hugs to all….

  4. elaine reininger says:

    Wow–SCAREY. Not a very peaceful work environment for you caretakers.

    • Diana says:

      It can get noisy, but we respect the chimpanzees and all that comes with being a chimpanzee. And 95% of the time it’s pretty quiet :).

  5. PatC says:

    I love seeing/learning about all of the chimps lives, including this 5%. I also confess: I watched this vid and thought, dang! I wish I could get away with some of that. xo

  6. Tobin says:

    For further information — and very sound advice — please refer to the “Ask Jamie” video, “Do Primates make good pets?”

  7. katie says:

    What sets them off to display>

    • Diana says:

      For Burrito, he usually starts his day with a display. Often displays happen when the chimpanzees move from one space to another during our cleaning routine. Sometimes if there are strangers nearby, the chimpanzees will display. Once in a while when there’s something exciting going on, like the set up of a party, the “high arousal” atmosphere will lead to a display. And other times it appears random, perhaps just letting off steam. For our group, I would say that Burrito’s displays appear more based on letting of steam/internal energy while Jamie’s are more calculated to remind the chimps and humans that she is a big deal. Generally the other chimpanzees display as a reaction to Burrito or Jamie displaying – joining in the “fun”, although Missy will display on her own, usually up in the loft, often when she is choosing to not follow the routine of the day.