Happy Earth Day!

April 22nd, 2014 by Debbie

One thing is for sure—the chimpanzees definitely don’t take their environment for granted. Here are some pictures that demonstrate how Missy is enjoying the spring weather these days!






Fascinating Mouths

April 21st, 2014 by Lisa

Maybe it’s just me but I find chimpanzee mouths to be pretty captivating. Not only are they particularly expressive but they are also exceptionally useful. Chimpanzees have prehensile lips which Debbie described beautifully in this past blog post. That means that mouths are just as good, if not even better than, hands and fingers for tool use and object manipulation. In fact, it can be downright splendid to watch the chimpanzees use their lips with such precision and finesse whether it’s for exploration, grooming, play, or food related.

Here is Jamie using her mouth and teeth to help her get the trash can open:

I found Annie’s mouth to be spectacularly expressive in this picture. Here she is the midst of a morning forage, searching for more fruit:

Negra using her lips to carry as many orange peels as she can find:

Here is Missy grooming herself by inspecting her own lip:

Jody carrying off a bowl in her mouth while her hands are otherwise occupied with climbing:

Foxie enjoying snow from a forage a while back. Maybe this helps to prevent brain freeze?

And, here is Burrito, ever the charmer, with an invitation to play:

Happy Easter!

April 20th, 2014 by Elizabeth

I will admit that we went a little over the top for today’s Easter party, but it just kind of happened. A couple of days ago we got a delivery of three (large!) boxes of Easter party supplies and favors from supporter Jayne R. It was everything we needed to throw the chimpanzees an amazing Easter party. And then this morning volunteer caregivers Stephanie and Patti showed up for their shift in the chimp house with their arms weighed down with piñatas, veggies, and other goodies. The chimps really do have the best friends, near and far.

We started the morning with a party in the greenhouse. The piñatas, as always, were a hit.





Jamie had to lie on her belly in the hammock to reach the piñata hanging underneath, but it was worth the effort:



Negra loved the treat tubes and other enrichment that Jayne sent:




Missy did, too:










Foxie checked out the new goods:


and found a new Dora the Explorer! Thanks, Jayne!


Foxie took Dora for a stroll on Young’s Hill:


Negra was more interested in the veggies we “planted” in the ground all over the hill:




Jody harvested a carrot from the treat rock:



and another:



Her arms were so full that she had trouble managing her haul, and had to stop every few feet to regroup:


But she worked it out:


Thanks again to Jayne, Patti, and Steph. Happy Easter, everyone!

Photographing the elusive Foxie

April 19th, 2014 by Diana

One super cool and unique auction item we have for Hoot! is the opportunity to photograph the chimpanzees with a lesson from professional photographers Karen Ducey and Dean Rutz, using long telephoto lenses and other professional-grade equipment! This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities!

Maybe the winner will be able to catch some photos like these of the first elusive, then charming Foxie with her troll dolls on Young’s Hill:

Foxie behind bamboo

Foxie behind tire

Foxie trolls in mouth

foxie walk with trolls

Foxie stand with trolls in mouth

Foxie trolls in mouth 2

Foxie trolls in mouth 3

close up Foxie with trolls in mouth


Whole apple forage

April 18th, 2014 by Debbie

Jamie really cleaned up in today’s breakfast forage. We put out whole apples and she was absolutely beside herself—carrying them around in hand and in foot. Thankfully the other chimps were able to get some as well—I posted photos of Annie, Burrito, and Missy on their Facebook pages. I saw Foxie and Jody with some too but couldn’t get a good photo. And Negra? Well, she was preoccupied with the peanuts that were scattered around. Not surprising at all :)






Rainy Day

April 17th, 2014 by Elizabeth

After several days of beautiful sunshine, we’re having a gray and rainy afternoon today. Not surprisingly, the chimpanzees are staying warm and dry inside curled up with as many blankets as they can find. Jody has no complaints.



you are amazing

April 16th, 2014 by Diana

There are a lot of non-profit organizations doing incredible work who have wonderful supporters, but, let’s just collectively acknowledge that Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest supporters are the best.

Without volunteers, donors, and people telling their friends about the sanctuary, we wouldn’t be able to provide a home for chimpanzees. YOU make the chimpanzees happy everyday.

I’m in the midst of preparing for the Hoot! Gala – mailing out tickets, thanking donors, uploading items to our preview site, and getting sponsor ads ready for the Hoot! Passport.

I’m thinking about all of the people who are supporting the event in all these ways, and at the same time I know that there are volunteers all over Seattle and beyond working late nights getting the booths ready, making silent auction boards, picking up donations, inviting their friends to be guests at their tables, and organizing event volunteers. I am blown away by the time, the dedication, the heart, and the money that people put into Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. Thank you all!

And speaking of time, dedication, heart, and money – go check out the Hoot! Gala preview site right now. I just uploaded a big batch of new items this afternoon, and have a few more to add in the next week.

Two that I’m excited about that are not yet on the preview site are a New Mexico getaway that includes a two-night stay at Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza and handmade, palm oil free soaps from the inspirational Brandon Wood of Make a Chimp Smile!

There are some really awesome Getaways (Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Leavenworth, and more); lots of Just for Fun items (a snowboard, an Owl Prowl adventure for 25, and your chance to photograph the chimpanzees with cool equipment and the expertise of professional photographers!), gift certificates to some of the best Restaurants in Seattle; Wine and wine tastings for you and your best friends; small batch distillery Liquor; Jewelry to die for (do people still say that?); and then there’s my favorite category (aside from Give a Hoot!) – Art.

Below are a few art items that are on the preview site. You can probably guess why I chose these. You really should check out all of the Hoot! items currently uploaded.

“Burrito Play” oil painting by Margaret H. Parkinson:

burrito play


“Missy” graphite drawing by Nancy Lewis:

Missy graphite


“Ms. Foxie” handcrafted artisan clay tile by Maggie Rascal Creations:

Foxie tile


“Best Friends” photo transfer and acrylic paint on wood by Stephanie Perciful

best friends


“A Dream for Apes Mask #18″ by Dominique Jacot

dream for apes #18

Now go get your tickets or make a Give a Hoot! donation!

How Apps for Apes helps conservation

April 15th, 2014 by Debbie

In his first post, Rich Zimmerman introduced us to the plight of free-living orangutans in Indonesia. Here he tells us how his program, Orangutan Outreach, has helped with some of the issues orangutans face and how Apps for Apes helps raise awareness for those efforts.

How has your work with Orangutan Outreach influenced conservation efforts in Indonesia?

Since its inception, Orangutan Outreach has been able to make a notable impact in the ongoing struggle to save the orangutans. Over the past few years we’ve been able to make substantial financial contributions to our strategic partners in the field, including Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS), IAR, Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) and SOCP. These funds go to rescuing, caring for, relocating, rehabilitating, and releasing individual orangutans back to the forest in Borneo and Sumatra. Working with our partners in the field, we’ve helped fund the rescue of individuals who, without our help, would otherwise have perished or been smuggled out of Indonesia by illegal animal traders. Our support has contributed immensely to the success of the BOS Nyaru Menteng orangutan releases. This release program is the first of its kind in history. BOS is literally re-creating a genetically stable population of orangutans in the wild and we are honored to be able to help them.

In addition to the work on the ground, Orangutan Outreach does a lot of online advocacy on behalf of the orangutans via our website, and our social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. We’ve been able to bring people together from all over and create hubs of support among our fans and followers.


Rich helping to educate the public about the plight of orangutans. Photo © Orangutan Outreach.

Tell us a little bit about the Apps for Apes program and how this helps both captive and wild orangutans.

Apps for Apes was started a few years ago as a way to provide enrichment to orangutans in zoos and sanctuaries—and has now expanded to include chimpanzees! Apes are highly intelligent creatures who require mental stimulation to keep from growing bored and depressed. Every ape is a unique individual with his or her own particular likes and dislikes, and the quality of life of apes living in zoos and sanctuaries is highly dependent on the amount and type of enrichment they receive on a daily basis. With the Apps for Apes project, we are providing iPads to ape caregivers in order to provide them with unlimited enrichment opportunities. They have access to music, musical instruments, cognitive games, art, painting, drawing, photos and videos. I should also point out that we do not spend a penny on Apps for Apes. All iPads are donated. NatGeo gave us several dozen last year when they upgraded their field staff!

Apps for Apes has three goals: 1) to provide stimulating enrichment & immediate gratification for the apes using iPads, 2) to raise awareness among zoo visitors of the critical need to protect orangutans in the wild, and 3) to promote the conservation efforts of Orangutan Outreach. For Apps for Apes to be truly successful we need to achieve ALL the goals. It’s wonderful to provide something fun for a captive ape, but we want to take it further. We want the iPad enrichment sessions to become ‘teachable moments’. Whether via live caregiver talks or stories on the news, we have a golden opportunity to get people to think about orangutans—to see them as amazing, intelligent beings who are being brutally killed in the wild—and to help them! That’s our larger goal of Apps for Apes—for the apes in captivity to truly become ambassadors for their cousins in the wild.



Puppe and her son Budi at the Toronto Zoo with their keeper Matthew Berridge.  Photos © Tom Pandi for Orangutan Outreach.

What can we do at home to help with conservation efforts?

People should try their best to avoid products that contain palm oil—and spread the word to all their friends. While boycotting all products that contain palm oil is not feasible, one can always make choices in what they buy. Consumers have power. By letting companies know you won’t buy products that contribute to the destruction of orangutan habitat you are making a powerful statement! Hopefully soon—but only with outside pressure from environmental groups—there will be products that only contain palm oil that is certifiably sustainable and that has not led to the deteriorating population of orangutans. Until then, use extreme caution when shopping, and read those labels!

A really fun way for people to get involved with orangutan conservation is by adopting an orangutan on our website. The adoptions are virtual—the orangutans stay at the care center (Believe me… people ask!). Adopting an orangutan is a great way for someone to follow along as their adoptee grows up. Donations are critical to keep the projects going, but spreading awareness is also key. People can’t act if they don’t know what’s happening far away in Borneo and Sumatra. We need people to share our website with their friends, join us on Facebook and spread the word. We have lots of online materials for young people to use in school. We cannot save the orangutans alone—only together can we make a difference!

CSNW was fortunate enough to be included in the Apps for Apes program and very much appreciate the iPad we received. Since then, we also got one from Shari H. so now the chimpanzees have two iPads! Now one person can keep Jamie occupied and someone else can play with the other chimps—perfect! Here’s a video of the chimps with their iPads:


April 14th, 2014 by Elizabeth

Burrito can be a little intimidated by the other chimpanzees. Because of his social anxiety, he tends to play much more with his human friends than with his chimpanzee family, but he and Foxie have a special friendship (learn more about that here).

Social Complexity In Action

April 13th, 2014 by Lisa

You may remember Diana’s post from last year about the interesting dynamic in the relationship between Jamie and Burrito. As it happens, Missy and Negra have a complicated relationship as well. When it comes to food, Negra is definitely more dominant and Missy will generally let her have whatever she wants, even if it is reluctantly. You might think that this dynamic would affect their friendship, but it doesn’t seem to, at least not in an obvious way. Missy doesn’t appear to hold a grudge against Negra for pulling rank and is just as happy to play with her as with her friend Annie when the opportunity arises.

It is interesting to note that a similar dynamic exists between Annie and Missy but in this case it is Annie that gives up her food at Missy’s request. So, I imagine it’s not just Missy and Negra or Jamie and Burrito that are complicated. Overall chimpanzee social relationships appear to develop much more complexity than a simple dominance hierarchy suggests.

Here is Negra taking one of Missy’s chow bags:

And here they are enjoying a play session together: