Happy Birthday, Michael!

October 7th, 2015 by Katelyn

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Arlene Okun in honor of her husband, Michael, on his birthday! Arlene and Michael are good friends of the chimpanzees and we’re so happy to be celebrating with them today. Arlene shared this message:

“It is my husband Michael’s birthday. He is a very generous and compassionate person. Helping others is second nature to him so it is fitting to sponsor a day of sanctuary for the chimps in his honor.”

Arlene, thank you so much for choosing to honor Michael and celebrate his life by making a difference for the chimpanzees. We so appreciate all that you both do to make their lives better.

And Michael, all of us here at CSNW wish you the happiest of days full of all that you most love and enjoy! Burrito, has his priorities straight and knows how to enjoy the simple pleasures each day has to offer. So if you need any ideas on how to celebrate, he might inspire you with some of his favorites:

Food. As much as you can eat. And hold in your hands (and sometimes your feet).


Be goofy, play, and laugh a lot.


Spend time with loved ones.

web Burrito hug Foxie 2 IMG_3258

Go on adventures, even if it’s in your own backyard.


And nap. Often.

Burrito sleeping

Walks with friends

October 6th, 2015 by Anna

This afternoon I went searching for chimpanzees to take photos of in the greenhouse. There were none to be found as everyone except Negra (who was napping in the Playroom) had gone on a Young’s hill adventure together.

I heard rustling in the bamboo forest on the hill and Jody was first to emerge.

Followed by Missy

And then Annie

And Shortly after that, I spotted Foxie (with Dora) followed by Jamie, both walking along the electric fence perimeter.

Burrito and his pink brush followed behind them on their walk.

And he walked beside staff caregiver Katelyn and her guests (on the other side of the fence).

Outside time is always better with friends and family!

In memory of Carlene

October 6th, 2015 by Katelyn

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Tony Garza and family in memory of his beloved wife, Carlene Olsen-Garza. The Garza family are dear members of our sanctuary family and they have done so much to ensure Carlene’s love for the chimpanzees lives on through all that they do to make the chimps’ lives better. We are so grateful to be a part of all the love and light Carlene and her family bring to the world.

Tony shared this message about today: “Carlene was a stead fast follower of CSNW right up until she lost her battle with cancer on this date in 2014. She was a great admirer of the work that the Sanctuary did and read with great interest anything to do with her three favorites: Jamie, Burrito and Foxie. Today we honor the memory of my dear wife by doing what we can to help the Sanctuary continue its work and achieve its future goals.”

Tony and family, our thoughts are with you all today. We are so touched by all that you do for the chimpanzees in Carlene’s memory and hope that your hearts are eased and comforted in knowing her spirit carries on here at the sanctuary. The dedication and love with which you all make sure that her compassion continues to make a different in the world is truly inspiring. Thank you so much for sponsoring today in her memory.







The Magic of a Good Meal

October 5th, 2015 by Elizabeth

Food is a neverending source of joy for the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees. It never loses its ability to excite and satisfy.









Jamie the Warrior

October 4th, 2015 by Elizabeth

It’s turning into the Weekend of Jamie on the blog, but we all just continue to be so amazed by how she handled (and even participated in!) her medical procedure on Friday. She’s back with the group now, resuming her Young’s Hill walking schedule, and doing great. Her strength and resilience will always be an inspiration.







Photos of an Amazing Chimpanzee Named Jamie

October 3rd, 2015 by Diana

Photography, to me, is fascinating both as an art form and as a documentary tool. There’s no doubt that the end result – the photos that are shared – say as much about the photographer as the subject.

All of the caregivers here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest take photos (a LOT of photos) of the chimpanzees, and we each go through the process of choosing those photos that we feel best represents the moment or the individual we were trying to capture.

I was looking through photos of Jamie and discovered several from this year that I had taken that hadn’t been posted to the blog yet. Sometimes I like to save photos for print like in our annual calendar, which I’ll be working on soon, but it’s pretty difficult not to share, so I decided not to save them but to share the ones I rediscovered today with you blog readers.

With Jamie’s procedure yesterday and the two of us working together on positive reinforcement training for the last several months, Jamie’s been on my mind pretty much constantly.

No one who knows her would tell you that Jamie is an “easy chimpanzee.” Being her caregiver is a constant challenge. She’s demanding and moody and strong-willed. Despite these characteristics, or probably because of them, I can’t think of a single person on this earth that I admire and respect more than Jamie.

I hope this admiration, respect, and love comes through in these photos I took of her over the last year. And I hope these images provide a glimpse into the amazing, strong, curious and wonderful person that Jamie is:

Jamie straightforward

Jamie with brush

Jamie in a nest of boots

Jamie mischievious

Jamie foraging

Jamie beautiful

Jamie contemplative

Jamie serious

I would love it if you chose one of these photos (or all, by linking to this blog post) to share Jamie and her story with those you know. You can find out more about her past on her short bio page and the more in-depth history of her life before sanctuary on her Eyes on Apes profile page.

It makes me so happy to know that she has admirers our there!

Jamie’s exam

October 2nd, 2015 by J.B.

A while back, Jamie developed an abscess on her swelling that would not resolve. Thanks to our positive reinforcement training program, Jamie was letting Diana flush the wound twice a day with an antibiotic solution, but unfortunately it still wasn’t healing. So today, with the help of our wonderful vet, Dr. Erin Zamzow, and the long-distance support of board member Dr. Mensching, we decided to anesthetize Jamie to get a better look.

To say that Jamie was cooperative would be an understatement – it’s more like she’s a part of the veterinary team. We always have to isolate chimpanzees prior to anesthesia so that we can make sure they have an empty stomach and most chimpanzees quickly figure out what’s in store for them. As you can imagine, that can be quite stressful and scary. But Jamie spent the entire morning playing with her caregivers, seemingly without a care in the world. When the time came to induce anesthesia, she willingly presented her arm to Diana for injection.

Along with Dr. Zamzow, we were so grateful to have help today from Dr. Fuller of Ellensburg Animal Hospital, who brought a digital x-ray machine so that we could determine the extent of the wound and ensure there wasn’t a foreign body inside.

All in all it was good news: the injury wasn’t as extensive as we feared, and the x-rays all looked good. Dr. Zamzow was able to sterilize the wound and Diana will continue with the cooperative treatments until Jamie is fully healed. Right now, Jamie is enjoying some quiet time by herself in a room filled with blankets, with waiters on hand to give her sips of Gatorade whenever she desires.

When we are done with procedures, we position the chimps in a way that protects their airway as they recover, and to facilitate this we lay them on a couple of scarves with the ends passed through the caging so that we can gently roll them back into position if they slump over the wrong way. As soon as Jamie was up and about, she put a scarf right back to use as a fashion accessory. You can tell she’s feeling better already.




Annie at rest

October 1st, 2015 by Elizabeth

This is what peace looks like:

Taking the high road

September 30th, 2015 by Katelyn

Jamie often likes to meander on her walks around the hill to climb structures, forage, or just check out the happenings in her kingdom. And when she diverts from the path, she expects whomever is accompanying her to wait patiently in the wings until she is ready to resume walking along the perimeter. It’s pretty funny how well she has us conditioned to her expectations, but it’s a joy to be able to watch her enjoy her time as she periodically looks our way to make sure we are still waiting for her.

Since the climbing structure with Carlene’s Tower and Jamie’s Lookout were built for the chimpanzees, this has become one of her favorite detours. She typically leaves us waiting at the top of the hill as she goes to make her way up the ladder to her Lookout, take in the view, cross the shaky bridge to Carlene’s Tower, and then climb back down the other side. She does a quick search in the foliage below and then usually returns to where she left us waiting so we can proceed on the path around Young’s Hill.

Often we walk in silence, occasionally looking across at one another to offer a head nod (or for Jamie to make sure we’re still wearing her boots). When I walk with her I often stop to take photos or look at something, doing my own exploring, and she will wait for me in return. Sometimes the only sound I hear are her footsteps through the grass as we make our way back to the chimp house. It’s a leisurely stroll with a good friend.






As part of Jamie’s routine she now usually picks up a tumbleweed along the way and carries it back to the chimp house with the plan to groom whatever boots we are wearing with her makeshift tool.


And then as long as it’s during the day and there’s no threat of it being time to close off Young’s Hill for the evening, Jamie often gathers her boots and blankets for a quick nap until it’s time to set off for the next walk.


Today is in honor of Lisa Stuverud!

September 30th, 2015 by Katelyn

The wonderful “Pay it Forward for the Chimpanzees” streak continues today through the generosity of the chimps’ good friend, Julie Lawell, who sponsored today’s day of sanctuary in honor of Lisa Stuverud (who sent out out another wave in this ripple effect of giving yesterday, in honor of Lisa Nowak)! Julie shared this message about today:

“Recognizing the bloggers who bring us such wonderful daily news and great pictures and videos seems like a nice tradition to start. I wouldn’t know nearly as much as I do about the chimps and their beautiful sanctuary without the blogs. Its really is wonderful to see the incredible things you do for the chimps and how much their lives have improved by being with you all. Your email is a cherished highlight of my day. Thank you so much!”

Julie, big, big thanks to you for all you do for the chimpanzees and for honoring Lisa and all of us today! We all love writing the blog so much! It makes it even more rewarding to know that sharing the lives of these wonderful chimpanzees with our amazing supporters is not only so welcome and enjoyed, but that it’s inspiring such compassion among our fellow primates.

Burrito, adorable man-chimp extraordaire:

Burrito with chow in mouth