Cooling Off

May 25th, 2017 by Elizabeth

Volunteer caregiver Becca brought out the mister today, and it was a hit (though Jody wasn’t sure at first).

The queen’s beck and call

May 24th, 2017 by Anna

When the usually aloof Negra comes looking for an interaction, you ALWAYS make time.

Feel that heat!

May 23rd, 2017 by Anna

The sanctuary has been experiencing a summer-like heatwave these last couple days. As a result, the chimpanzees have been keeping cool lounging next to breezy doorways. Warm weather with bright green grass still on the hill… we could get used to this!



Dining al fresco

May 22nd, 2017 by Katelyn

It was so beautiful today I almost hyperventilated. That said, it was by far the hottest day we’ve had this year with a sudden temperature rise to the upper 80’s so the chimps and the humans are still adjusting and taking things slow and easy. Well, the chimps are anyway!

Keri and I thought it would be a great day for a lunch forage on Young’s Hill. The chimps have continued to enjoy the current local bounty of lilacs so we’ve been adding those to forages as well. (Foxie has decided this year that she LOVES them!! She wants absolutely nothing to do with the leave or stems, but happily munches the flowers).

At first everyone was a little reluctant to run out into the sun, but once they realized lunch al fresco was awaiting them, they all ran out together. Burrito, Foxie (that foot!) and Annie:

Annie foraging bipedally and Negra in the foreground:


Foxie (with Dora in her mouth):





Sometimes life is astoundingly beautiful.

Feeling Silly

May 21st, 2017 by Elizabeth

One of the worst parts of this job is having to watch the chimps be so dang happy all the time.

Happy Birthday, Michael!

May 21st, 2017 by Katelyn

Today the chimps received a beautiful gift of a day of sanctuary, sponsored by Michael Miller! Today is Michael’s birthday and he shared this gift for the chimps would be “a good way to celebrate turning another year older 🙂 thank you for your work!”

Michael, it’s amazing that you would start your day, and your own celebration, by not only thinking of the chimps, but contributing to their lives and well-being! Thank you so much for your generosity. All of us here at the sanctuary wish you the best of birthdays! It’s a phenomenally beautiful day here at the sanctuary – looking out the window, Ellie the neighborhood elk is dozing in the shaded, tall, green grass, the chimps are lounging together in the bright, sun-warmed greenhouse and periodically running out onto Young’s Hill to enjoy this beautiful spring day.

Happy Birthday, Michael!

Jamie on Twister

Missy making choices

May 20th, 2017 by Diana

Last night, Dr. Steve Ross from Lincoln Park Zoo spoke at nearby Central Washington University. He was invited by the Primate Awareness Network, which is a CWU student organization affiliated with the Primate Behavior and Ecology (PBE) program.

This is a really unique program, so I’m going to take a moment to give it some advertising. It’s the only program that I’m aware of in the country that offers an undergraduate degree in Primate Behavior. A master’s degree is also offered, and now there’s yet a third option for those who are seeking formal education in primate care – a certificate program that provides students with all skills and experiences listed by the International Primatological Society for Animal Technician, and some skills and experiences listed for Senior Animal Technician.

All of the staff who work at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest have been trained at some level at CWU. J.B. and I met there when we were enrolled in the graduate level program many, many years ago when there were still chimpanzees on campus (the last of the group of five chimpanzees who were part of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at CWU, Tatu and Loulis, now live with other chimpanzees at the Fauna Foundation, Canada’s only chimpanzee sanctuary).

Our sanctuary now works closely with the PBE program, offering intern credit for students who volunteer at the sanctuary. This gives students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience caring for primates while learning about their behavior. J.B. is an adjunct professor within the anthropology department and teaches a course on primate care.

Dr. Ross’s talk last night was about applied animal welfare, in other words, using behavioral research and data collection to gain information about primates that can be directly used to inform captive management decisions to improve individual welfare.

Dr. Ross stressed the importance of recognizing individual differences and letting the individuals tell you what they need and want based on their behavior.

And that brings me to my very informal observation of one of the individuals at CSNW today: Missy


As Jamie and Burrito were leading me on a walk around the 2-acre hill enclosure (me on the outside of the electric fence, of course), and Negra was taking a nap in the very warm greenhouse, Missy was out and about on her own mission to find and eat wild plants. She traversed across the hill, stopping occasionally to sample a bit of greenery.



It might be said that Missy has a bit more “wild and free” in her than some of the other chimpanzees. She is comfortable exploring on her own within the landscape of her little piece of nature, while some of the other chimpanzees seem to prefer to the company of others, or, like Negra, choose to venture out only when they are motivated to find a very particular plant during a very particular season.

Choice. This, above all else, is what increases primate welfare the most. When you think about it, much of what we share on the blog are the choices that the chimpanzees are freely making on a daily basis.





Simple pleasures

May 19th, 2017 by J.B.

The other night I watched Negra eat dandelions as the sun began to set over Young’s Hill. I wish it could be spring forever.

Fine Dining

May 18th, 2017 by Elizabeth

There’s nothing quite like savoring a raw onion on a spring afternoon with the birds chirping in the background.

Coming in for a landing

May 17th, 2017 by Anna

More evidence that Missy may actually have built in springs in her knees.