We had an exciting week of introductions in the Fauna Chimphouse as Dolly and Blackie met their first Fauna family member up close and in person! Since arriving in late November, Dolly and Blackie have lived together with each other but separate from the other Fauna residents, allowing them time to get familiar with their new surroundings. When introducing new chimpanzees it is important that they first are comfortable in their new home before making any meetings in the same enclosure.
The Chimphouse is an enormous building and consists of several large rooms, as well as walkways, pop-up tunnels, and look-outs. While there are separations between the areas, in many locations the chimps can still see each other and can safely visit. So, Dolly and Blackie have had a chance to meet their friends and many of the Fauna residents have been very eager to get to know the new ladies on the block.
This week the timing seemed right to make the first introductions in the Fauna Chimphouse and who better to play ambassador to the Fauna chimpanzees but our matriarch, Sue Ellen. From the moment Dolly and Blackie arrived, Sue Ellen has been excited and curious to meet them, sharing many interactions through the bars. If she had had her way, they would have met long ago. The reunion could not have gone better! From the moment they were all in the same room their affinity for each other was immediately evident.
When chimpanzees greet, they communicate with specific gestures including breathy pants, present back, crouch, bob, kiss, and hug. There were lots of hugs and kisses between the three and they immediately followed each other around taking turns grooming, embracing, and reassuring in brief moments of high excitement. They wandered the entire upstairs room as a threesome, stopping to groom and hug in different locations. When lunch arrived they all took a break to enjoy their food, before coming back together to visit.
Sue Ellen is a wise and kind chimpanzee, and she is the matriarch of the Chimphouse. She was the perfect choice for the first introduction to the new girls. These three are the oldest at Fauna with Dolly just turning 50 last month and Sue Ellen turning 50 next month. They will now spend some time living together and getting to know each other better. Once they are ready to meet someone new, Sue Ellen will be a great friend to them and will help pave the way for further introductions.
We are all so delighted with how well Dolly and Blackie are adapting to their new home and we can’t wait to see them further integrate with their new Fauna family.
For more on Dolly and Blackie’s move to Fauna, you can read Gloria’s post here.