Photo: Project Chimps

#ChimpChat: Brooke and Gracie

It’s time for a new #ChimpChat with Caregiver Brooke! Brooke and her chimp friend Gracie share a special bond. “Every time Gracie looks at me with her deep brown eyes it’s a special bonding moment,” Brooke explains. “One memory that stands out to me is when the other chimps were arguing and she came to me for reassurance”. Chimps will seek reassurance from others after a high arousal moment, like an argument or squabble, which helps to calm them down and solidify social bonds. Brooke describes Gracie as “playful, happy, and perceptive”. Just like the other chimps at Project Chimps, Gracie has blossomed since her retirement began at the sanctuary. “Gracie is very aware of her surroundings and it takes her a bit to warm up to people,” Brooke says. “She is one of the more reserved chimps until she gets to know you, but once she feels comfortable, she becomes this exuberant ball of happy energy!” When asked why she chose to talk about Gracie for her #ChimpChat, Brooke says, “Gracie is one of the sweetest chimps [she has] ever met. She is a friend to all her group mates, never starts an argument and tries to settle tension after an altercation. She is kindhearted through and through, a goofball, and always happy and wanting to play”. When asked about chimps in general, Brooke explains, “The public should know just how similar these chimps, and all chimps, are to us. The fact that humans share more than 98% of our DNA with chimps does not even begin to describe our connection to them. They have such complex social structures, and they are emotional beings just like us. Chimps think about the future just as we do and now that they are safe in sanctuary, they will have the very best future ahead of them.”