Watch Orphaned Chimpanzee Drink Water From Photographer’s Hands

Portrait of a chimpanzee

Photo: DeepGreen/Depositphotos (Not a photo of the actual chimpanzee.)

Thanks to a video posted online, a French photographer is reminding the world of chimpanzees' intelligence and sensitivity. JC Pieri was in Cameroon at a sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees run by Papaye International when he had a moving experience with a young chimp.

The clip begins with Pieri and the primate hunched over a small water source as we see the chimpanzee start to unbutton the photographer's shirt. In an effort not to dirty Pieri's shirt, the chimpanzee first rinses his hands in the water. Then, after rolling up Pieri's sleeves, he puts the man's hands together to make a cup. He gently dips Pieri's hands into the water and drinks from this “cup” in a loving moment between two species.

In another video, Pieri shows more of his interaction with the orphans, who are being rehabilitated by Papaye International before being set free into the wild. In this clip, we see several chimpanzees looking curiously at Pieri's camera as they try to manipulate the buttons, as well as warm embraces by the chimps. Pieri carries one young apw around the sanctuary, and in another moment, a small chimp sits on his lap and lovingly wraps his arms around Pieri.

“Am I dreaming?” This is the on-screen caption that sums up Pieri's feelings. These primates seem to really care about Pieri, with one even gently brushing his beard, perhaps in an attempt to ensure that it's clean and free of debris.

While the chimps in these videos are adorable, Pieri is quick to remind us that they certainly aren't toys or attractions to be played with. In his captions, he emphasizes the important work that Papaye International does, collaborating with the Cameroonian government to rehabilitate chimps who have been orphaned by poachers or animal traffickers.

“It is therefore very important to emphasize that this intelligent, sensitive animal is and remains a wild animal,” he writes. “It's not a toy, a stuffed animal, or a pet, and although the photos and videos show a being in search of games, hugs, and exchanges, let's not forget that good human souls participate in rebuilding them, restoring their confidence in life and in the future after they experienced the worst, the horror, all of them arrived on site traumatized, sick, or injured.”

He goes on to point out that the sanctuary is a critical step in their ability to survive and that Papaye International's sanctuaries are one of the only ones in the world to allow chimpanzees to reenter a natural habitat without enclosures or fences. In fact, once the chimps leave the sanctuary, they no longer have contact with their human caregivers unless there is a critical emergency.

Pieri's videos demonstrate just how powerful collaborations between photographers and non-profits can be, amplifying the good work being done to help preserve this incredible species.

French photographer JC Pieri posted an incredible video of a chimpanzee using his hands to drink.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JC Pieri (@jcpieri)

Another clip shows some of the powerful interactions he experienced at Papaye International's sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JC Pieri (@jcpieri)

JC Pieri: Website | Instagram | Facebook
Papaye International: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [PetaPixel]

Related Articles:

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Descendants of Rescued Zoo Chimpanzees Thrive in Tanzanian Jungle

Intelligent Orangutan Treats His Own Facial Injury with Medicinal Plant

These Orangutan Videos Show off How Smart the Critically Endangered Primates Are

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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