Determination is the Key to Success

One of the most enriching things we have at CHCI is the berm garden, where caregivers plant certain fruits and vegetables and the chimpanzees can watch them grow. Once the plants are ripe, the chimpanzees can request items from the berm garden and caregivers can serve these treats to them through the fencing. Sometimes they will request things before they are ready, and caregivers respond with something like, “SORRY CAN’T THAT PLANT NOT READY,” “THAT PLANT BABY,” or “NEED GROW MORE.” Tatu can be pretty persistent however, and if she is told that a plant isn’t ready – but she has her mind set on getting that plant, she will invent ways to get it on her own. Just the other day she came outside carrying two hoses in her mouth. She climbed up to the highest ledge in zone 7, behind the cargo net, and squatted down to the point where she was barely hanging on to the edge of the corner ledge. She looked down at the two hoses, which were in her hands now, and dropped one. It was insufficient. She took the other one, which was longer, and started feeding it through the fencing to hook the apple tree that grows just outside the fencing in that corner of the berm. The apples are only about one inch in diameter right now and very, very green. I stood there watching and signed “THAT BABY APPLE, NOT READY!” but Tatu was determined. It didn’t take her long to hook the branch in just the right way in order to snag one of the apples. I laughed a little and congratulated Tatu as she happily crunched away on the very unripe and tiny apple. 
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