What’s on the Menu Today?

September 18th, 2017 by Kelsi

Mondays are never a drag here at CSNW! We had a pretty exciting menu today.

Breakfast: Started with a fruit smoothie (volunteers’/staff’s choice), two fruit options (pears & cantaloupe today), chow, and some vitamins

Lunch: We served some fresh kale, orange peppers (because why not), tomatoes, a little bit of corn, and chow

Now get ready for the main course because this is going to get interesting!

Dinner: We had a forage tonight and the chimps had roasted onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes (among a few other veggies as well)

The chimps enjoy fresh and cooked vegetables, but this forage combination really got their attention!

Today’s lunch:

Level 3 Volunteer Jake serving Jody:

Negra eating corn:


Missy food peering for some tomatoes:

Annie (Left) & Foxie (Right) holding peppers

Jake serving Foxie tomatoes:




Some Days are Just Silly

September 17th, 2017 by Kelsi

It was all fun and games today at CSNW! This morning I was greeted with breathy pants, grooming (Burrito & Neggie grooming one another), and chimps playing games of chase with each other (Annie, Missy, & Foxie). Jamie made a few of the staff and level 3 volunteers try on boots and after finding the right pair she couldn’t contain her excitement and took off for a game of chase!

Annie: Grooming her leg and secretly watching Burrito play chase

Annie: Later in the day enjoying kale from the garden

Missy: Hanging out in the greenhouse

Jody: Taking it easy and soaking in the warm sun

Foxie: Carrying her dora doll around

Burrito found a sweatband and put it on to play chase. Burrito put it on his head as captured in the photos, but he also put it around his wrists and ran around like crazy!

Burrito: Thinking about wearing the sweatband

Burrito: Putting the sweatband on, but still holding his wooden toys

Burrito: Playing chase

Burrito: Playing chase with volunteer Erin and the sweatband over his face


Outdoor sanctuary

September 16th, 2017 by Anna

Cooler temperatures at the sanctuary mean more frequent (and fast paced) walks on Young’s Hill!

The Waning Days of Summer

September 15th, 2017 by J.B.

We’ve reached the time of year where the days are still warm but the mornings are cold enough to remind you that summer’s days are numbered. When I arrived at the chimp house this morning I had trouble finding Negra. After calling her name a few times, she poked her head out of this mountain of blankets in the Greenhouse just long enough to greet me with a few soft grunts.

Before long, a breeze had cleared out the wildfire smoke that had settled overnight and things began to warm up. Jody and the gang took to the hill to enjoy some sunshine.

The chimps had a surprise treat at lunchtime. Volunteer Patti brought watermelon and Field Roast veggie dogs so that the chimps and their caregivers could have an End of Summer party.

Foxie was still on the hill with Jody when lunch was brought out. When she came back and saw what was on the tray, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Without context, the behaviors and body language  of fear and excitement can be difficult to distinguish in chimpanzees. Foxie grimaced, baring all of her teeth, and sought reassurance from the other chimps and her caregivers. When chimpanzees are overwhelmed with emotion, good or bad, they seek comfort in their friends.

It was also Patti’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Patti!). We wholeheartedly endorse this idea of bring food to us on your birthday, Patti, and hope that it is the beginning of a new trend wherein anyone who has a birthday brings us lunch.

Even party lunches have to end with bags of primate chow, lest we upset The Queen. By lunch, Negra had shed all of her blankets except for the bare minimum needed to maintain a sense of comfort and security.

Chimps nibble on certain foods, while other foods are almost always stuffed into their mouths as though they are trying to set a Guinness record. Primate chow makes excellent wadge material and the chimps often chew it into a thick paste and spit it back into their hand periodically to admire their handiwork. Missy has additional reasons for stuffing her face with chow – it’s much harder for Negra to steal pieces out of her mouth than it would be if they were still in the bag…

Normally the humans around here lament the end of summer but this year feels different. It’s been hot and dry and smokey for too long. We’re looking forward to some gray, rainy days and the opportunity to throw on an extra blanket or two.


Chimpanzees in Circuses

September 14th, 2017 by Diana

An eight-year-old chimpanzee named Chance has been in the news lately. Chance is owned by the Rosaire family and has been used in entertainment for his entire life. He has appeared in commercials, television shows and movies, including The Wolf of Wall Street.

The reason Chance and the Rosaires have been in the news recently is due to this footage that PETA obtained of Chance performing with a leash around his neck.

Thirty years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for chimpanzees to appear in circuses and roadside zoo performances. In fact, Jamie, Burrito, and possibly Jody were all used as performers before their years as biomedical research subjects. They lived with trainers and were made to perform in order to entertain people.

Thankfully, we have learned a lot about the nature of chimpanzees over the years and, as a society, we’ve begun to question the appropriateness of using intelligent, social animals in this way. More and more people agree that whales belong in the ocean, not in small aquariums, that elephants shouldn’t be used as props for people to sit on, and that chimpanzees should not be raised by humans and taught to perform tricks just to amuse us.

The Rosaire family has been in the circus business for multiple generations, so it’s understandable that they are stubbornly holding on to their way of life and their views of exotic animals that many, if not most, people have reconsidered.

They argue that they are providing sanctuary for the animals in their care, and they even have legal nonprofit status and the word “sanctuary” in their name Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary.

Certainly, anyone who is familiar with true sanctuaries would immediately realize that putting a chimpanzee on a leash and having people pay to view him perform an act is a circus, not a charitable sanctuary, and that those entities have very different missions. But for those not as familiar, I’m not surprised that the Rosaires have their defenders.

It may be true that the Rosaires feel love for the animals in their care, but that doesn’t mean the animals are being afforded the life that they should or could have in an accredited sanctuary.

For more information on the Rosaires, see this page, and for how to distinguish between roadside zoos and sanctuaries, read this from CSNW and this from the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance and share with others.

When you see chimpanzees on television, in movies, or pictured on greeting cards, stop to consider what kind of a life that chimpanzee has. Exotic animal circuses survive only because people continue to pay to see animal performances. There are fewer and fewer chimpanzees being used in entertainment because fewer and fewer people think that they should be used in this way.

We hope the chimpanzees who remain in the entertainment business in the U.S. will be able to experience a different way of life someday, like Jamie, Burrito, and Jody, where the focus is on providing them with hundreds of choices that allow them to be who they are as chimpanzees and where their best interests are the top priority.





Missy & Negra

September 13th, 2017 by Anna

Yesterday during breakfast, volunteer Jake and I watched Missy build an elaborate nest out of blankets and a hanging fire hose which she wove around her blankets in a tight circle. Just as Missy was putting the final touches to her bed, Negra approached with her chow bags in hand and promptly took over Missy’s nest to enjoy the last bit of her breakfast. Missy didn’t bat an eye and quickly moved out of the way for Negra. While to us humans this would seem like an incredibly rude thing to do, this sort of displacement is common in relationships between dominant and subordinate chimpanzees. Missy and Negra have an agreement that when Negra wants something that Missy has, she is going to get it. Missy is very relationship savvy and she very rarely complains when Negra takes things from her (most commonly her primate chow bags). I think there are also some constraints to their agreement, as Missy willingly gives up things that don’t mean that much to her, and Negra knows she can easily take things that Missy isn’t too attached to. This relationship seems to suit them both just fine.

Missy (on a different day, building a similar nest)

Negra (on a different day, napping in a similar nest)

Ever wondered?

September 12th, 2017 by Anna

You might have a few questions running through the back of your mind after watching this video of Jamie and Burrito playing:

Well we’ve got answers!

Question 1:
What’s the story with the big pink bottoms?
Answer: Female chimpanzees have large pink swellings (called “sexual swellings”) on their rear ends. These swellings vary in size both between individuals, and also in the same individual over the course of the menstrual cycle. They advertise a female’s fertility by letting a male know when the probability of conception is at its peak. In this video, Jamie’s bottom is not very swollen, and therefore she is not at peak fertility.

Question 2:
Why are Burrito’s testicles so large?
A: Since chimpanzees are not a monogamous species, and a female chimp may have multiple mating partners in a relatively short window of time, male chimpanzees engage in what is known as “sperm competition” – a male who can produce a large number of viable sperm has a better chance of producing offspring. Large testicles are useful for accommodating these large quantities of sperm. Additionally, Burrito has a chronic heart condition that can lead to swelling in the scrotum.

Question 3:
Do the chimpanzees ever mate with each other?
A: No. Many chimpanzees who grow up in impoverished, unnatural situations (like research labs) often develop abnormally and don’t exhibit typical social and sexual behavior. It’s also possible that the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees consider themselves a family after living together as a group for so long, and therefore don’t view each other as viable mating partners. As an added precaution, Burrito has had a vasectomy.

Space and time

September 11th, 2017 by Katelyn

Initially, Annie had no use for her party yesterday. While everyone else partied in the greenhouse Annie promptly bypassed the indoor festivities and ventured outside to Young’s Hill all on her own. She took her time foraging and scooped up most of everything that was out there, enjoying it all at her own pace. It was amazing to watch her sitting out there enjoying her celebration in peace and solitude.

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile you may know that Annie hasn’t always been so comfortable in her own skin. I think of all the chimps, her change over the last nine years in sanctuary is one of the most apparent. I still remember so clearly the early days after the chimps gained access to their outdoor enclosure and one day I watched Annie, sitting in the raceway to the hill wanting so badly to be with her best friend Missy who was zipping and zooming around out there with ease. Annie’s eyes were glued to Missy as she rocked with anxiety awaiting her return to the greenhouse.

It was heart wrenching to watch those moments. But of course, we trusted that Annie would find the courage to move forward in her own space and time. That’s one of the most beautiful things about sanctuary. Space and time. Space and time for each of the chimps to heal. Space and time for each of their battered souls to come back to them and explore, learn and remember who they are. After nine years in sanctuary, each of the chimps continue to surprise us every single day with their brave, daring, curious, creative, intelligent and beautiful selves.

What a gift that is. For all of us who have the privilege to watch them, and most importantly, for each of the chimps who with each passing day/week/month/year get to celebrate being their own person. However that looks.

Annie feet:

Bonus Negra photo from the party because, well, that face!:

Annie’s Birthday Extravaganza!

September 10th, 2017 by Kelsi

Today is Annie’s 43rd Birthday! We are so fortunate to know Annie – she is a sweet, playful, and loyal friend to humans and non-humans. We celebrated her today with a fun forage full of veggies, chow, roasted onions, and smoothie in the greenhouse and Young’s Hill.  Annie also really LOVES kale especially from our garden. It was quite the party!

Annie standing bipedally while foraging on the hill:

Annie found some delicious kale from our garden:

Burrito scored a few presents:

Burrito (wonder what he found inside):

Annie enjoying a plate of corn and broccoli with a side of socks:

Jamie drinking smoothie:

Jamie unwrapping a present:

Jamie holding some boots in her pelvic pocket:

Negra basking in the sun and foraging:

Birthday girl (Annie):


Jody eating some leeks from our garden:

Annie enjoying her kale:

Foxie eating chow:

Annie found one last plate:

Secret Hideaway

September 9th, 2017 by Diana

First, I want to express our good wishes for all of our primate friends in Florida right now. We have been thinking about Save the Chimps, Center for Great Apes, and Jungle Friends since coverage of Hurricane Irma began. We know the humans at those sanctuaries have been working hard to prepare for the storm and rolling out their emergency preparedness plans in order to keep the non-human primates in their care safe. We’re so grateful for all that you do and know that you will update everyone when you can, just know you are in our thoughts.

Second, this is pretty difficult to believe, but we will be celebrating Annie’s 43rd birthday tomorrow!


We don’t know Annie’s actual date of birth, and, in fact, even the year could be wrong, but it’s important for us to celebrate the chimpanzees’ individual birthdays, even if the dates were chosen by us when they arrived. Be sure to check in tomorrow for the party recap!


And now, for the news of Jamie’s new hideout on the hill. It’s actually not new at all – it was one of the first features that we included on Young’s Hill.

tunnel construction

We called it Missy’s Tunnel because we had a plastic culvert in the playroom that Missy liked to run through when she was playing chase with Annie, so we imagined that she would do the same with a culvert partially buried and covered over with dirt on the hill.

We haven’t seen much play in the tunnel, though I have seen Missy run through it a time or two.

This summer, Jamie decided to adopt the tunnel and has been using it quite regularly as a resting stop when she’s doing her perimeter walks around the hill.

First, she coaxes one of her caregivers to put on a pair of boots and “join” her on the walk, then, when she gets to the tunnel, she proceeds to just hang out in there for several minutes while her human subject is left standing and waiting on the other side of the fence.


Jamie sitting in tunnel


When she’s good and ready, she emerges and resumes the walk.

Jamie coming out of tunnel


Despite not having a tunnel on the human side of the fence, I’m finding this ritual rather relaxing myself just watching her.

And it has brought back memories. At my elementary school, we had concrete tunnels on the playground. They were great places to cool down away from the sun for a bit, gossip with a friend, or just have a voluntary timeout from whatever else was going on. Even though they were out in the open and everyone knew about them, being in one felt like I was in a secret hideaway.

I like to think that Jamie feels the same way about her newfound private place.

Jamie sitting in tunnel