Serious business

October 13th, 2015 by Anna

As you may already know, the sanctuary has an enrichment calendar that we follow in order to enhance the lives of the chimpanzees on a daily basis. In the morning when we clean each area, we may put out lots of paper for them to nest in, or maybe we will put out all the small toys from the enrichment bins in the kitchen. Some days we might put out the ever popular troll scarves! Yesterday was a troll scarf day and first thing this morning we caught Jamie looking quite serious in a knitted blue troll scarf. Upon further cleaning inspection, we found 3 or 4 more troll scarves in an intricate nest she had assembled in the front rooms.

A quick reminder that Great Apes Giving Day starts tonight at 9:00 p.m. PST (midnight eastern time). Check out Diana’s blog post from last week to learn more!

Burrito’s Calling

October 12th, 2015 by Elizabeth

There’s something kind of magical about watching someone engage in whatever they’re passionate about. Burrito’s one true passion is food. When Burrito is eating, he is in the zone, he is blissed out, he is one with the world.

Intrepid Explorers

October 11th, 2015 by Whitney Emge

Hi everyone! My name is Whitney and I am filling in for Keri as a temporary staff caregiver for the chimpanzees while she is on maternity leave. I began volunteering at CSNW about two years ago, and one of my favorite things about coming here is witnessing the chimpanzees’ confidence grow.

Today was no exception. As background to this story, any time we enter part of the chimpanzees’ enclosure to clean, every staff member, intern, and volunteer present in the building must perform a series of safety checks before the room in question can be unlocked. Part of the checks involve visually identifying all seven chimpanzees in rooms other than the one we want to enter.

This morning I went to identify the chimpanzees so we could enter the playroom for cleaning, and after extensive searching I could only find two of them in the building. Lo and behold, five of the seven were way out on the hill! It took some time, but I eventually saw Burrito, Jody, Missy, Foxie, and Annie as they explored the hill, occasionally appearing between bamboo and climbing up their magnificent climbing structures. I remember that just two years ago it was a delightful surprise to see any of the Seven out exploring the hill, even close to the greenhouse, and now it seems to be a daily occurrence that they are not only on the hill but are now confident enough to explore their home far and wide.

I couldn’t get any pictures while they were out on the hill this morning, but here are a few of my favorites from this afternoon. Some grooming, some lunch, some play time with friends.

Annie (right) grooming her best friend Missy (left):


Burrito, caught in a rare playful mood (just kidding, he’s almost always in a playful mood):



Foxie grooming her foot:


Jamie, ever inventive, enjoyed her lunch at a makeshift table:



The neighborhood hot spot

October 10th, 2015 by Katelyn

Most neighborhoods have that spot where all the locals like to gather, right? Well, our current neighborhood hot spot is the small orchard on the property, specifically the pear trees. The leaves are glowing orange and yellow with branches hanging heavy with fruit and a carpet of pears below.



From top to bottom, all of our wild neighbors are stopping by to try and get them while they can, like these robins.


A quail pair:


Mr. Coyote diligently stood guard while the Mrs. did her best to retrieve some from under the fence:



One of our doe neighbors with her growing fawn are frequent visitors:


And with most neighborhood hot spots, you might know there is going to be some drama at some point. While Jamie might be boss of the chimp house, it seems Ellie fancies herself the boss of the orchard:



Chimpanzees living in the wild remember the location of favored food as well, particularly fruit trees. With food sources often being unpredictable and dispersed throughout a large area finding the most productive food resources with the most efficient use of energy and time is essential for any species so there is often a lot of competition for high value food. Thankfully, the chimpanzees here have us humans to deliver the goods so they get to avoid the drama at the local hot spot. Or at least keep it between the family.

Jody savoring the ripe pears:






“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

October 9th, 2015 by Anna

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
-William Cullen

Yesterday was an exciting day at the sanctuary as we had some of our first fall quarter interns from Central Washington University come for part of the day. The chimpanzees were interested in all this activity and staff were busy training the new recruits. Today is a more typical quiet day with grey skies and lots of napping. Here are just a few scenes from this peaceful afternoon.



Missy (foreground) Burrito (background)


The Forgotten Photos

October 8th, 2015 by Elizabeth

We take so many photos of the chimpanzees that some inevitably slip through the cracks and never get shared on the blog. Here are some recent portraits I found on the hard drive; let us know which is your favorite!















Great Apes Giving Day – one week away!

October 7th, 2015 by Diana


We could really use the help of you devoted blog readers to reach our goal of raising $5,000 for the first ever Great Apes Giving Day on October 14th.

This 24-hour online event, sponsored by the Arcus Foundation, the Greenbaum Foundation and our friends at the the Anti-American Vivisection Society, is aimed at raising awareness and funds for several North American sanctuaries caring for great apes. It’s a pretty cool idea, and we are happy to be participating!

With the friendly competition among the sanctuaries, we are a little nervous because we are one of the smallest and the newest sanctuary participating in the day, but it’s true that our loyal supporters have the biggest hearts!

There are three main ways that you can participate:

  • Make a donation. Your donation today or any day before the 14th will be counted toward our total on giving day. Or you can wait to make your donation on the 14th, which will increase our chances of winning cash prizes (golden tickets) given out each hour. Learn all about prizes and the rules for the day here. If you’d like to make a matching challenge donation to make things more exciting, let us know in the comments below, or email A donation of $100 pays for a month of blog posts – that’s a pretty good deal when you think about 30 days worth of videos and photos and stories of your chimpanzee family, isn’t it? Imagine if every blog reader donated $100!
  • Create your own fundraising page and fundraise for the sanctuary! It’s pretty easy to set up a page (take a look at these tips to get started), and we would be happy to help by answering questions, providing photos, and whatever else you need. Create your page today and start letting your potentials donors know about it!
  • Share the CSNW fundraising page and encourage others to donate. Spread the word via email and social media so more people know about the day and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest’s participation in this online fundraising event!

Mark your calendars now for October 14th and check our page that day to see how close we are to our goal of raising $5,000!

Thank you, as always, for your support and dedication to Foxie, Annie, Jody, Missy, Jamie, Burrito, and Negra!

annie missy play wrestle

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.