All of my friends know Thatcher, she has been my absolute favorite chimp since I started working here in 2013. I don’t remember the single moment when I decided that she was my favorite, but I can tell you that I have never been bored for a moment of following her.
Over the years I’ve watched this little one grow from a tiny toddler to a tiny lady. When we first met she was an adorable little nudge, jumping up and down on her mom and big sister, Tsunami, anytime they stopped paying attention to her (click here for a short video of that sort of silliness). That first summer, she played a game of chicken with us, tumbling toward just to turn on her heel and flee toward her mom._
Until last month, Thatcher was the youngest sibling in a long-line of Tongo’s progeny, including everyone’s favorite, Lanjo. Now that we have tiny Tangawizi, it’s finally Thatcher’s turn to be a big sister.
One of the things that makes Thatcher so delightful is her intense curiosity. Last year she gave me a terrible fright- she followed her belly to the far end of the party and it took me 20 minutes of frantic searching to find her. I was certain she was gone forever. Tongo, on the other hand, wasn't remotely bothered that her three-year old was so far off. She was no help. This year, Thatcher is continually increasing her social independence from Tongo. She's quick to approach other group members, inspecting and grooming or playing with everyone she meets. She seems particularly interested in the new babies that have joined the group over the last few months- I hope to capture a good image of her curiously peering into the arms of one of the newer mothers before the babies get too old. But for now, I give you the best portraits that I've managed to capture so far. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!
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This blog is a forum share my personal experiences as a field researcher and traveler.