The hoots and expressions of delight continued for half an hour. Champ, Tina, Carmen (who’s now in her 50s), Buffy, April and Uriah wobbled around with their 20 lb. watermelons, smashed them open, or dribbled them like basketballs for the full length of the outdoor living area.

It was a festive way to bring the chimpanzees into our celebration of this week’s official merger between Friends of Animals and the Texas-based sanctuary Primarily Primates. A truck brought the 80 watermelons - plenty to go around for 65 chimpanzees. The hours-long watermelon party was, we can reveal, a smashing success. Baby Grace jumped up and down on one to crack it open. Wish all of our readers could have seen her little feet fly!

The first six chimpanzees, the group living in one of the Air Force enclosures beside the pond, rushed out of their bedrooms to discover seven watermelons displayed high in their resting platforms, perched on climbing structures, or nestled in the grass. How wonderful!

When Amy, 11-year-old Hope and one-year-old Grace found their watermelons, Hope carried hers high to the top of the climbing structure, and pounded the whole melon while Grace danced on top of it, hanging from the enclosure’s peak by one arm. Twenty-seven-year-old Amy sounded off with happy grunts, eating each piece of watermelon to the rind.

Ten year-old Thomas never disappoints. Thomas took ample opportunities to fling pieces of watermelon back at the staff before devouring most of an entire watermelon before afternoon arrived.

Reporting live from Primarily Primates, I’m Priscilla Feral.