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Friday, March 14, 2014

In the Swing of Things

Bow does not always use his swing to swing. Sometimes he just stands there holding onto it, to steady himself in a bipedal position.

In the picture above from yesterday, can you spot Leo in the air? It may be hard to see him through the grid, but that dog can jump! Bow is standing there, interacting with Leo, while Leo is three feet in the air, interacting with Bow at eye level. It is quite a sight to behold.

Bow has been enjoying his many outings now that the weather is a little warmer. It is not that warm, but warm enough. While Bow enjoys exercising and displaying, there are also many mellow moments.

Bow and Leo are good friends, and they interact often through the grid.

They seem to have a lot to say to each other.

But there are also the moments when they turn away from each other, each occupied by his own, solitary activity. Sometimes Bow remembers what a swing is for.

Bow can swing quite hard and fast and high when he wants to, but not when he is mellow.

When he is mellow, then the swing is like a hammock to lounge in.

Chimpanzees can live for well over forty years, and there is even one who has made it past seventy. Recently I spoke to someone who has been raising chimpanzees all her life. When I told her Bow was twelve, she remarked that this can be a rambunctious and somewhat difficult age. But, she said, if you stick it out with a chimpanzee past adolescence, they actually mellow out quite a bit! They become easier to get along with, but most people do not find this out, because they give up too soon.

Bow and I are not giving up. Our journey has just begun. Already, we have many fine, quiet moments together. It's all a matter of getting into the swing of things. When Bow needs his space to be rowdy, I let him. And when he is ready to be mellow, then I let him do that, too. This is a policy that seems to work pretty well.


  1. I look forward to the day when you post about Bow's twentieth birthday, and his adolescence will just be a fond memory. I am so glad that you have truly made Bow part of your family, and think it is sad other people who adopted chimpanzees did not make the commitment. Why do it half baked?

    1. Thanks, Julia. I look forward to Bow's twentieth birthday, too!

      I think maybe there has not been enough communication between established chimpanzee owners of long standing and those people whose chimps are very young. One reason might be that a lot of publicity is being given to those who maintain that humans and chimpanzees should not live together. But maybe that will change soon, and the other side of the story will also be heard.