Love Stories: Eniga & Her Babies
Valentine’s Day is almost here, and love is in the air at Chimp Haven! One of the wonderful things about life at the sanctuary is the friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, that develop between the retirees. We hope you enjoy a few of our favorite recent love stories.
Today’s love story is simple and straightforward (the best ones always are). It’s a story of a girl and her beloved stuffed plushies – her “babies” – and a comeback-in-the-making for a small but mighty chimp.
Thirty-eight-year-old Eniga is a small girl who came to Chimp Haven in 2019; she lives in Ehsto’s family group of nine chimps. This tight-knit group gets along well, and although Ehsto is their leader, they’re not rigid with their hierarchies – they tend to be laidback and rarely have any drama.
Although Eniga is physically tiny, she’s got the attitude of a much bigger chimp.
“She’s adorable and she’s spicy,” says Caregiver Rebecca Bailey. “Sometimes those two things conflict. When you bring her chow biscuits, she really wants the biscuits, but she also wants to give you sass about it. She can pull it off – honestly, she could stomp all over me and I’d still think she’s perfect.”
In the fall of 2023, Eniga and her buddies got the opportunity to move into a multi-acre forested habitat for the first time. Their caregivers were so excited to see how the group would react, but they were also feeling a little cautious when it came to Eniga. She had suffered a stroke in the previous year, and although her recovery was going well, they hoped she’d remain cautious in the big new space.
They soon found out they had nothing to worry about – not only has Ehsto’s group absolutely flourished in the forest, but the novelty of the move and new space has been good for Eniga.
“She does a good job at pacing herself and the exercise seems to have been good for her recovery,” says Rebecca.
Over the past year, Eniga has also taken up a charming new habit – she doesn’t go anywhere without a stuffed plush toy in tow. She sleeps with her plushies, lays on them, takes them on strolls through the woods, and lounges out in the sun. Her caregivers call them her “babies,” and Eniga even entrusts them to care for her toys occasionally.
“She never showed an interest in stuffies before, but over the past year, she’s really taken to them,” says Rebecca. “We always make sure she has one, and she’ll leave them in her bedroom so we can give them a bath.”
As this sweet girl embarks on new adventures and continues her recovery, we’re so happy she has her “babies” and her devoted legion of caregiver fans to comfort and support her along the way.