Photo: Project Chimps

#ChimpChat: Josh and Michael

Today’s #ChimpChat is all about Josh according to caregiver Michael. Twenty-six-year-old Josh is currently the oldest chimp at the Project Chimps sanctuary. He has a unique physical appearance with a light, bespeckled face and gray, almost blonde hair down his back. Michael describes Josh as a “happy and playful chimp, with a bit of a stubborn side”. One of Michael and Josh’s favorite things to do together is play chase. From his side of the mesh, Josh will “wait until we make eye contact and then bounce his body, almost like a fake out, until I initiate the chase”, Michael explained. “He’s a high energy and spirited chimp who is always fun to be around,” Michael said. Since his arrival at Project Chimps, Josh has become quite the foodie. He particularly loves fruit juice, sweet potatoes, and celery hearts. Michael describes Josh as relishing caregiver attention. “He enjoys watching us as we clean, and he’s very comfortable approaching us at the mesh. He especially likes drinks from the hose”, Michael said.

Possibly the most interesting part of Josh’s journey so far at Project Chimps is his rise in his group’s dominance hierarchy. When the seven males first arrived at the sanctuary, caregivers thought Josh was lower to mid-ranking, as he was reserved and a bit wary of his new surroundings. However, as he has become more comfortable in his environment, he has become a close number two to alpha male Marlon. Michael believes he’s risen in rank because “he knows how to defend himself and others, but he doesn’t challenge the higher ranking males either”. Michael was able to witness Josh’s social promotion: “I could tell he was rising in rank because of his physical closeness to Marlon, and the fact that Marlon would back Josh up during spats with the other chimps”, Michael explained. “Josh isn’t submissive like Patrick and Taz. He’s independent and confident. He knows what he wants”. Alpha male Marlon recently turned 16, which means that he’s 10 years Josh’s junior. “At times Josh seems much more confident and secure than Marlon, but I think his size has a lot to do with his position,” Michael said. Josh is one of the smaller chimps in the group, while Marlon is the second largest male, just behind Arthur. However, since his arrival at the sanctuary, he has become physically larger, gaining some healthy weight since he moved in. If we’ve learned anything in the months since the chimps’ arrival, it’s that dominance hierarchies among chimpanzees are anything but an exact science.

If you would like to symbolically adopt Josh, please visit our Adopt-A-Chimp page here: