Buddy the Fire fighter
Story written bij a caregiver for the occasion of AAP's 40th anniversaryI am working at AAP since 2008 and I started immediately at the chimpanzee complex. A complex with a lot of distinctive individuals and about one of the individuals I have a special story. His name is Buddy, a large and beautiful black male chimpanzee. Buddy came from Spain and we don’t know exactly how old he is. He is famous for his pooh throwing skills but that is not what this story is about. He lives in the CU, Care Unit, or White as we call this department at the CC.
On one day Buddy decided he wanted a career change and thought that a job as fireman would be suitable for him. In order to do our cleaning work we use the fire hose for spraying the hall and the enclosures and in the earlier days we kept the hose unrolled in the corridor. Buddy knew this and he always watched us closely how to use the fire hose. So on that particular night he thought this is my chance, he waited as long as all of the keepers had left the CC. He took his long stick that we give our chimps to work on enrichment, he put it through the mesh and started fishing for the fire hose that was laying in the corridor. He succeeded in getting the hose as close to the mesh to reach out for it and grab it. And that is where his practise began. He screwed the red top open and water came gushing out. Buddy sprayed the walls and the ceiling and screwed the top again so that the water stopped. He loved this new toy and his new job, so he kept on opening and closing the top. When he got bored, he began to bite into the top, not knowing what could cause this. Because as strong as Buddy is, he bit the top so hard that the screwing mechanism didn't work anymore and the water kept gushing out. Now this was not so funny anymore and Buddy started to realise that he got himself into a situation. With all his power he tried to screw it back, so that it would close off the water... But it was too late. The only option that was left, was sticking the hose in the ground under the wood chips and try to ignore it was there.
The next morning, when the keepers came into White, Buddy was sitting on his platform trying to act as normal as possible. But when we found out that all the enclosures in White had turned into a giant swimming pool, he couldn't resist and came forward to the mesh to say he was sorry. He stepped on the deep litter and his legs sank. He was in the water up to his waste and he started fear grinning to us. After that he didn't touch the floor anymore, he moved by ropes and metal pipes on the sides. Buddy was terrified by the floating wood chips. That day he decided not to become a fire fighter after all and just stay Buddy the master pooh thrower.
After this incident we always made sure that the hoses were rolled up and the water was turned off!
Patricia van der Linden, caregiver