The Joy of Things to Come

December 9th, 2016 by J.B.

For chimpanzees, true happiness is found most often in moments of anticipation. I love watching them play as they wait in expectation of a good meal or an exciting treat.

A New Day

December 8th, 2016 by Elizabeth

Maybe it’s because they spent so much of their lives confined indoors, but the Cle Elum Seven have a wonder and an appreciation of the natural world that’s inspiring. This time of year, the humans at the sanctuary can often be heard grumbling about the frigid temperatures and the icy roads and the neverending piles of snow to shovel. We get so bogged down in the inconveniences of the season that we don’t often take time to appreciate what each day has to offer. But each morning when we open the door to Young’s Hill, the chimps line up to see what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.




Today is in honor of Carrie Miller!

December 8th, 2016 by Katelyn

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Sylvia Gandolfo in honor of Carrie Miller! Sylvia and Carrie are long-time friends of the chimpanzees and gift one another with the generous and compassionate support of the chimpanzees. The chimps have so many wonderful friends and we’re so grateful for the love and good they inspire in the world. Sylvia shared this message about today:

“Honoring Carrie to acknowledge her lifelong, passionate understanding of the importance of all living beings and the need to provide rescue and sanctuary for those who have been mistreated. Happy Anniversary!”

Sylvia, thank you so much for choosing to celebrate Carrie and your special day by including the chimps! We greatly appreciate how you both hold the chimps in your hearts and include them in your lives.

Carrie, we’re so happy to celebrate in your honor today! Thank you for all you do to make the world a kind and loving place and for us all. We hope you have a wonderful day of celebration!!

Your pal, Burrito, as his usual adorable self:


Sylvia’s pal, sweet Annie:


This one never gets old: Annie and Burrito hugging on the chimps’ first day on Young’s Hill (Negra foreground):

web2 Burrito Annie hug Negra foreground youngs hill release day first time yh DSC_0740

The things we do.

December 7th, 2016 by Katelyn

We are supposed to have a big winter storm headed our way tomorrow, but today has been dry and sooooooo cold, remaining well below freezing all day. So the chimps have been hunkered down in the toasty chimp house for the most part. They are handling it like troopers, but it can be extra challenging to try to pre-empt the inevitable boredom that comes with being stuck inside all day. So it’s in our mind throughout the day to come up with new, interesting, and even silly things.

One way to break up any tedium is for the humans to act as enrichment and attempt to entertain the chimps. So volunteer caregiver, Holly, and I took turns wearing a vibrant purple wig she brought in. Sometimes we get mixed reactions. Jamie will often look us up and down and just stare at us as if to express how embarrassed she is for us given our foolish behavior. Foxie will sometimes spit at us. And sometimes they will completely ignore us. But the wig was a hit with all today and had Foxie hanging upside down laughing and kicking the ceiling with her feet! Burrito was full of kisses for us and Missy thought it was pretty hilarious. Even the boss gave several head-nods of approval. So naturally, I had to have ever-the-good-sport Holly don the wig for lunch service. It’s the little things…:

Holly serving Jamie as Annie and Jody wait patiently:


Jody, Annie and Jamie (and Holly, of course):


After lunch, Jamie decided freezing temps or not, we were going for a walk. Missy is a good right-hand gal to Jamie and reluctantly, braved the cold with her. Missy kept stopping to wait for Annie who gave it a go, but in the end stood huddled with her arms wrapped around herself and then hightailed it bipedally back to the warm chimp house:


So Jamie and Missy and I carried on:



By the time we reached the downhill back to the chimp house we all decided to pick up the pace:


When it’s below 20 at night we close off the greenhouse to help maintain heat in the chimp house overnight. And the chimps wouldn’t be out there when it’s this cold anyway. After a warm dinner of roasted acorn squash, mini-peppers and onions along with peanut butter and banana inside cups for evening enrichment, and extra blankets still warm from the dryer, everyone is settled inside for the night. Jamie just asked for her favorite boots to sleep with and I just turned off the chimps’ lights. Everyone is tucked into their nests safe, warm and cozy for the night. So goodnight from the chimp house!

Blue sky and acres of silver snow!

December 6th, 2016 by Anna

This morning the chimpanzees woke up to the first major blanket of snow for the season. Lucky for all of us, it was also a beautiful, bluebird sunshiny day. Jamie made sure to stretch her legs and taste some of the fresh powder out on Young’s Hill.







No hard feelings

December 5th, 2016 by Elizabeth

When you’re a chimpanzee, a kick in the face or a poke in the eye is all in the name of fun.

That Time Of The Year, Again

December 4th, 2016 by Keri

It’s here, it’s here! The snow has arrived! And the chimps know what to do when it starts getting cold and the snow has fallen.

Last Monday, I watched both Missy and Annie (and took the following photos), make the rounds on Young’s Hill, with a very specific goal in mind; to find ice chunks “hidden” within the various outdoor structures. It was indeed cold enough last week for there to be ice, but there was not enough moisture.

This morning, it was a different story. Missy and Annie set out on Young’s Hill to check all the usual spots where ice forms overnight, including in the bottom of this tire swing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get outside in time to take photos of them finding the ice chunks this morning when Katelyn called on the radio to say they had found some. So, stay tuned for more pictures of the chimps gathering their snow and ice enrichment in the coming months!




Missy checked the same tires (but none of the photos turned out where she was reaching in).


Here’s a couple extras of Missy on the hill last Monday that I couldn’t resist adding to the blog.

One of my favorite Missy action shots.

Chimpanzee Identification Contest

December 3rd, 2016 by Diana

Do you want to win a 2017 Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest calendar?

If you can correctly identify each chimpanzee in all seven photos below, you’ll be entered to win!

Fine print: You can only enter once, so be sure of your answer before submitting your responses. The winner will be chosen at random among those with correct answers on Monday morning at 11:00am. If you are a volunteer of the sanctuary, you’re not eligible, because that wouldn’t be fair – but we’ll figure out another way for you to have a chance to win a calendar.

You can write your guesses in a comment below this post, or if you want more anonymity, email me:

This is an “open book” quiz, so feel free to go through old blog posts and look on the chimpanzees’ individual pages (click on the Polaroid-looking photos at the very top of the page).

Here we go:





















Quality Control

December 2nd, 2016 by J.B.

Jamie gets a special kind of pleasure from trying to destroy things that I have just repaired.

Speaking Chimpanzee

December 1st, 2016 by Elizabeth

Chimpanzees may not speak a human language, but they have their own way of communicating.