Exuberant, engaging, and effervescent: three words caregiver Janie uses to describe her dear friend, Marlon. If you haven’t guessed it already, today’s #ChimpChat features caregiver Janie talking about male chimpanzee Marlon, who just turned 16 last Sunday! Marlon, the alpha male in a group of seven male chimps, is quite the character. In Janie’s words, “he has captured all of our hearts”. “From day one,” Janie explains, “Marlon has been a lovable and exciting ball of fun. He’s extremely outgoing, and isn’t afraid to hide it”. While some chimps may be more reserved and shy away when visitors come by, Marlon relishes every opportunity to meet someone new. “Marlon really enjoys new visitors,” Janie said, “He loves when there are guests, especially men. He has a favorite spot where he sits to admire and observe them”. However, as much as he enjoys meeting new people, he loves interacting with his caregivers even more. “Marlon absolutely loves to play with his caregivers. He’s the first to say “hi” and initiate play with us,” Janie said. If you can’t find Marlon playing with his caregivers, you can find him lounging in a custom fire hose hammock the caregivers constructed for the chimps. Marlon loves this spot so much in fact the hammock type is now called the “Marlon hammock” around the sanctuary. He’ll usually hang out in his hammock with a blanket or two for a nest, and either settle down for a nap or simply observe his surroundings. During evening rounds, where caregivers check on the chimps at night during harsh weather or extreme temperatures, Marlon is often found sleeping while sitting totally upright in his hammock spot. Janie explains how Marlon has some unique quirks. For example, “He’s almost always holding onto one of the plastic wrenches, hammers, or screwdrivers from one of their toy tool kits. He especially enjoys tickling his caregivers with the toys or being groomed with one of the tools by his caregivers”. Janie and Marlon have shared many special moments together, including some good grooming sessions. “Every moment is a special bonding moment with him,” Janie said, “You’re guaranteed a spirited game of tug-of-war, or a boisterous game of chase”. Marlon has brought such a joyful and spirited energy to the sanctuary. He has certainly made himself at home here, where he will continue to be surrounded by those who love and care for him unconditionally.
Photo: Project Chimps