Snoozy afternoon

September 17th, 2014 by Katelyn

We are having a warm, overcast end-of-summer day today and while the chimpanzees and humans are loving the perfect temperatures, everyone seems to be feeling on the snoozy side this afternoon. The chimpanzees spent a lot of time out on Young’s Hill today and shortly after everyone finished exploring I went to look in the playroom to see what they were up to. But everyone seemed to be squirreled away in their nests along the catwalks in the playroom, out of camera range.

So I went out to the greenhouse and heard nothing but the breeze rustling the bamboo. But just as I turned to leave, I heard a slight play thump and I looked up on the very top tier and spotted this sweet guy:


With all the ladies resting indoors, Burrito appeared to be enjoying a peaceful napping spot while soaking up the warmth of the sun coming through the top tier of the greenhouse.






Jody’s eyes

September 16th, 2014 by Debbie

Over six and a half years ago, J.B., Diana, Sarah, and Keith all visited the chimpanzees while they were still in the Buckshire lab. J.B. wrote this entry about Jody and how the first thing he noticed about her were her striking eyes. After living at CSNW now for over six years, I think they are even more vibrant now than they ever have been before.




Games with Friends

September 15th, 2014 by Elizabeth

Foxie and caregiver Katelyn played a fun game of slap-the-window today.

It’s a forage kind of day

September 14th, 2014 by Keri

Today we put out a breakfast forage in the Greenhouse and a lunch forage on Young’s Hill.

Annie enjoyed the tangerines, while Burrito pretty much enjoyed every single morsel of food he could find at breakfast.




Jamie loved her tomatoes!

Missy was the first one to find the small sugar pumpkin (part of today’s lunch forage on Young’s Hill) on top of the wooden platform and quickly brought it to the Greenhouse.



Jody was quick to take over Missy’s find. She proceeded to bring the treat into the Playroom to enjoy.


Then it was Negra’s turn.


Jody and Annie were nearby in case Negra decided to share. Here Jody can be seen peering toward Negra.


Chimpanzees: Always Curious

September 13th, 2014 by Diana

It’s important to have priorities in life, and the chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest are good at deciding what is top priority (usually food) and what is a close ranking second, as you’ll see in the video below.

Here’s what the back of the lower mount for the GoPro camera looks like. I caught this photo last week of Annie standing next to it. The steel mount, custom made by J.B., has a hinge and opens up to slip the camera in and then has a padlock to secure it.

Annie looking at GoPro mount

Conflict and Reconciliation

September 12th, 2014 by J.B.

Last week, a squabble broke out during dinner. Since we’re always talking about how we never capture conflicts on video, I decided to sit quietly and record the whole thing on my phone.

I’m always amazed at how much is going on during a fight. Alliances are being forged, tested, and sometimes broken. Old grudges are being dug up and rehashed. Some subordinate chimps are engaged in proxy fights on behalf their superiors, others are playing mediator and trying not to harm the alliances they’ve worked so hard to build, and some, like Burrito, are doing all they can just to stay out of the way. And that’s just the fight – as soon as it’s over, it’s on to reconciliation phase.

It’s easy to miss all of these things amidst all the screaming, so what follows is my attempt at a play-by-play.

Annie’s 40th

September 10th, 2014 by Debbie

We celebrated Annie’s 40th birthday today! Her exact birthday is unknown since she was captured in the wild, but her records indicate that she was born sometime in 1974, and today is the day we picked to celebrate it. Annie certainly doesn’t act 40 at all! She’s still very young at heart—she shows her playful side daily when wrestling with Missy or running around Young’s Hill.

We wanted to celebrate her special day with some of her favorites—green grass, beets, green onions, piñatas, buckets of water, shovels, and chow! Thanks to some supplies Lisa Stuverud brought us we had a fun colorful party with new enrichment, too. We set up a breakfast forage first, and then volunteer Becca served Annie’s favorite veggies at lunch.

Here’s the party setup:


I love this photo — you can see the juice from the tangerine spraying to the side! Good shot by Elizabeth.

Annie with a mouthful of chow (she loves to wadge chow!)

Annie loves green grass, so we picked some for her and included bunches of it in their breakfast forage:

Some of her favorite veggies are green onions and beets:



The other chimps enjoyed the party too! Burrito the charmer practically posed during the forage for this photo:

Everyone loved the fruit! Here’s Jamie:




Missy loved the green grass:

And Jody ended up getting the piñatas (there was a Dora the Explorer piñata too, but that was torn up before we could snap a photo!)


Foxie got a new troll and some knuckle rubs from Diana, which made her laugh:

And Negra spent a lot of time in hard-to-see spots during the day, but I did get this picture of her beautiful relaxed face:

Happy 40th Birthday, Annie!

Negra playing chase

September 9th, 2014 by Debbie

As many of you know, Negra isn’t the most active chimp. Her favorite activity is curling up in a nice big nest with a blanket over her head (second only to eating night bags!) Today, Diana got a special treat when Negra decided to play chase with her. Of course, Neggie’s version of chase was basically moving from one door to another door that is about five feet away — meanwhile Diana had to run all the way through the kitchen and to the other side of the building to meet her. This went on for a few rounds and I was wondering what was going on, but figured Diana was playing chase with Foxie or Missy, who are both known for their playfulness. But no, it was Negra! So I rushed to grab the camera, and only got the last bit of their chase bout. Annie got Negra’s attention and ran around with her for a little bit, which was also a treat to see. We love seeing the chimpanzees come out of their shells—even six years after they first arrived they still continue to surprise us.

Annie, believe it or not, is turning 40 tomorrow! I’m a little late on this request, but if you’re interested in sending Annie a few (belated) birthday gifts, check out our Amazon wishlist. I added some of the toys she likes the most (and have worn out, so we’d like some new ones!) plus there’s plenty of other supplies we need to keep Annie and the rest of the Cle Elum Seven living in a clean home and happy as can be. Based on the video above, I’d like to think we do a pretty good job at giving these deserving chimpanzees the best life possible. :)

We’ve got a fun party planned for Annie tomorrow, but here’s a picture of her to tide you over until then!


Building Trust

September 8th, 2014 by Keri

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is what I like most about working at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW). My answer in part relates to my evolving relationship with the chimpanzees over the past two years, particularly my relationship with Negra.

I first started training to become a caregiver over a year ago and Jamie was quick to demand I be her friend. It wasn’t long after, that Foxie began passing her troll dolls to me and Burrito constantly enlisted me in a game of chase. Even the shy Annie would extend her fingers through the metal fence to touch the back of my hand when no one else was looking. Jody would sometimes bounce up and down (a chimpanzee greeting) towards me when I called her name, while Missy would present her back up to the caging for me to groom. Negra, on the other hand would barely even acknowledge that I was present.

As the months rolled by, Negra started to look in my direction when I would greet her (which was usually me calling out her name and giving her a head nod). Then came the day she gave me a quick head nod in return to my greeting and I teared up. Here she was, this 40 year old chimpanzee (at the time), who had endured almost her entire life in biomedical research labs, was giving me, a new human, a greeting. After all that time spent behind bars, she was beginning to trust me.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that she actually came down from her blanket nest and stuck her lips out to offer me a kiss. I had to blink back the tears; she trusted me. I was doing my job to make her home a true sanctuary where she felt she could trust again. And that to me, is what this sanctuary is all about.

So, what do I love most about working at CSNW? I love that I am working to provide a safe, loving, nurturing home so that these seven chimpanzees can feel hope, love and trust again.

Here are a few of my favorite Negra photos from the past two days.

Negra taking a little break from foraging in her cabin on Young’s Hill.

Negra with broccoli in her mouth making her way back to the Greenhouse.

Negra (on the right) sits quietly next to Annie (on the left) as she finishes her oranges.

Negra relaxing in her blanket nest in the Playroom after eating.