With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re celebrating ALL the love here at the sanctuary. One of the most wonderful things about life at Chimp Haven is watching new friendships, families, bromances, and, yes, even romances, develop between the retirees. We’re excited to share a few of those love stories here with you the next two weeks!
Some of you may remember Jill and Hulk from the BBC documentary Sue Perkins and the Chimp Sanctuary. At the time, Hulk and his group were introduced to Jill’s group of girls for the first time, and while Jill tried to be friends, Hulk wouldn’t give her the time of day!
Well, things have changed. “She now has him wrapped around her little finger,” shared Colony Director Michelle. “Through their friendship, Hulk has started to shine in the group, proving that old adage behind every good man there’s a good woman.”
Caregiver Hannah, who trains with Hulk, is one of his biggest fans, and watched this love story unfold up close.
“Hulk definitely ignored Jill initially because, I believe, he was a bit intimated by her,” shared Hannah. “He may be a big guy but he’s basically a squishy teddy bear and is not very high-ranking among the boys, so he kept a low profile.
“He started to warm up to her and one day, for the first time I’d ever seen, Hulk had a play face while they were playing…and let me tell you, it was CUTE! I knew he was smitten because he had not been a super playful chimp before. She’s really gotten him to broaden his social horizons — since they’ve gotten close, I’ve seen Hulk interact and play with many of the other girls like Martha, Ariah, and his old pal Rero!”
Over the past six months, Hulk has even gotten more playful with staff like Hannah. As a big guy, sometimes he unintentionally gets a little rough when he plays, but Jill’s a stong-willed girl who has no problem putting him in his place.
“He quickly obliges and they go right back to playing, no problem,” says Hannah. “He definitely needs a strong lady in his life who can handle him and Jill is just that.”
Jill has benefitted from the close friendship too.
“She’s really blossomed as well,” Hannah shared. “She’s a pretty laid back girl who wasn’t always super interested in what her group had going on, but now she’s become more playful and interactive too.
“I’ve watched their relationship grow and it’s so amazing to see how dynamics in the group change when relationships like these take off. I’m obviously smitten with Hulk because he is the cutest boy you’ll ever meet, and ol’ sweet lips will steal your heart if you let him.”
(Story shared by Animal Caregiver, Hannah and Colony Director, Michelle.)