Today’s #ChimpChat is dedicated to the intelligent, energetic, and captivating Quintin. Caregiver Brooke and Quintin have had a special bond ever since Brooke helped move his group of seven male chimps into their new home at the Project Chimps sanctuary last November. Since then, Brooke has continued to build a strong relationship with him. “Quintin is still one of the more quiet chimps in a group of outgoing males,” Brooke explained. However, if there’s one thing to get him out of his shell, it’s celery. “His favorite foods are fruit smoothies, frozen blueberries, and celery. He and the other male chimps go crazy for celery!” Brooke explained.
“Quintin and I love to just sit down, relax, and enjoy each other’s company,” Brooke explained. “He loves to ask me for back scratches and neck rubs. He is a very personable and affectionate guy!” Brooke said. As a trained caregiver, Brooke is permitted to have close contact with Quintin and the other chimps. When he wants a back scratch, Quintin will lean his back against the mesh, allowing Brooke to carefully use her knuckles or a tickle stick to massage and scratch his back. “Quintin is a very smart guy and he loves to interact with me, especially when I’m training,” Brooke said. When Brooke trains with Quintin or any other chimp, she will ask him for a specific body part like an arm, leg, back, etc. These body presentation behaviors are important for chimps to understand as they strengthen the communication between chimp and caregiver, and help our vet team when necessary. When he’s not helping Brooke with training, Quintin loves to play chase, tug of war with one of his blankets, and lounge around with the other males. Quintin is higher-ranking, second only to the alpha male Marlon. Brooke explains how “Quintin enjoys grooming Arthur and playing with me and the other caregivers”. Grooming is a great way to secure one’s social standing and to strengthen alliances. When chimps groom one another it triggers a release of endorphins that relaxes them, steadies their heart rate, and reduces nervousness.
Caring for the chimpanzee residents at the Project Chimps sanctuary has meant a lot to caregiver Brooke. “Working with chimps has not only widened my curiosity and passion for primates, but it has changed how I think about what it means to be human. Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives and our similarities are undeniable. By learning more about them we can learn more about ourselves.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
If you would like to symbolically adopt Quintin, please visit his Adopt-A-Chimp page here: http://projectchimps.org/about/the-chimps/quintin/