Written by Debbie Metzler
During one of the last Chimposiums of the season, I took a small group of docents down to visit the chimpanzees before the guests came for their visit. Dar was wearing a brightly colored sock, and holding a recorder.
We put out all sorts of different enrichment items during the day, and the chimpanzees see a lot of different people come visit them. We never know what they might be interested in, but there’s definitely a reason we give them so much variety – so their minds are stimulated and they are as enriched as possible.
This photograph reminded me of an experience I had several years ago on a Sunday morning that I spent with the chimpanzees. A few days before, Dar and I had played with a recorder during a game of chase and had a lot of fun, so on this morning I went into the enrichment room and scrounged up four recorders to see if Tatu and Loulis wanted to join us. I passed them out to everyone. Loulis seemed vaugely interested, Tatu placed hers on the floor next to her, and Dar began to play a little tune. I performed some old classics that I learned in elementary school, most notably, Mary Had a Little Lamb. Dar joined in on the chorus, Loulis watched me curiously, and Tatu stared at me quietly while I made a racket. Half way through Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Tatu extended her arm and signed GIMMIE THAT. I passed her my recorder and she promptly put it down on the ground beside her recorder. The rest of the afternoon was spent in peace and quiet.