Negra braves the heat

July 3rd, 2015 by J.B.

It’s difficult to catch Missy in an action shot because she moves so fast.


It’s even harder to catch Negra in an action shot because…well, she’s just not very active. But even temperatures in the high 90’s couldn’t stop Negra from parkouring her way through Young’s Hill, troll in hand, to grab some broccoli and cauliflower during today’s lunch forage.





Foxie has been holding on to a new troll with its purple hair still intact. She treasures these while they last (Jamie and Jody usually rip the hair out).


Speaking of hair, a lot of people have trouble telling Annie and Foxie apart, so here’s a good side-by-side shot to help you out. Annie looks like someone just rubbed a balloon on her head. Not unlike a troll doll, come to think of it.


And Burrito has been showing off a bit more of his physique, thanks to his recent exam. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t build muscle on a diet of fruits and vegetables. Your results may vary, however, unless you also stick to Burrito’s daily workout routine that includes leaping, swinging, and banging on everything in sight as you terrify everyone around you in a formidable dominance display and then running for your life as six angry girls chase after you.



July 2nd, 2015 by Elizabeth

There is something endearingly childlike about Foxie. She is sweet (and sassy) and playful and full of joy. She sometimes stares deeply into her caregivers’ eyes, seemingly mesmerized. She loves her chimp family and wants everyone to get along.








July 1st, 2015 by Katelyn

Some of the most important things we can provide the chimpanzees are choices. The choice to explore their outdoor area or to nest inside. The choice to play with their chimp and human friends or nap. The choice to play with enrichment or ignore it. The choice to stay in one area or not when we are trying to shift them for meals or cleaning. The choices are many and we particularly love it when the chimps take it upon themselves to engage throughout the day in what they find interesting as long as we provide the options.

Choices relieve the inevitable bouts of boredom these intelligent, curious and active people experience at times being in captivity. And choices of how the chimps wanted to spend their moments and days was not something they often received prior to living in sanctuary. Yes, they are still in captivity and ultimately, the humans control their environment and schedule, but we do our very best at all times to work cooperatively with the chimps and give them choices at every possible opportunity. We want the chimpanzees to feel as much as possible that they finally get to call the shots. And really, they do.

These photos will hopefully provide an idea of how the chimpanzees choose to spend their days, in snippets:

Negra, dozing in the morning sun in the greenhouse when I first arrived:


Foxie and Dracula troll enjoyed a toothbrush while waiting for breakfast:


After breakfast, Burrito headed up Young’s Hill to climb one of the structures:


He is exhibiting a fear grimace here (notice it looks very similar to a human smile, but means quite the opposite for chimpanzees – when chimps smile they only show their bottom teeth). Burrito sometimes fear grimaces when doing new things on the hill until he feels more comfortable. He may be feeling a little nervous as he courageously walks out to the end of the plank:


Feeling more comfortable back on the platform:


Jody wasn’t far behind Burrito, but decided to survey the area for some wild greens instead:


Success! And she decides to head back to the greenhouse:


Annie chose to head straight for the new structure and enjoy a little quiet time and the view from Carlene’s Tower:


Missy decided to take the swinging bridge over to the other side:



Jamie decided to join Missy on Jamie’s Tower, but climbed the pole as opposed to taking the “simple” way up of the ladder:



Foxie joined Jamie a bit later:


While all this was occurring on the hill, Negra changed nests and took a post-breakfast nap:


Back inside later in the day, Jamie was thrilled to find one of her favorite enrichment items out – her “kitchen sink” filled with water and paper towels at the ready. She immediately wiped her nose:


And washed and dried her hands:


In between lunch and dinner the chimps also enjoyed checking out their growing garden and sampling some fresh peas and green onions, playing chase and grooming with caregivers and each other, cooling off with an ice cube snack, and napping throughout the day. And Jamie went on to check out new boots and enjoy an evening of walks around the hill while the other chimps headed to bed in the cooler playroom after dinner.

Annie, utterly relaxed:


As caregivers, continually providing the chimpanzees with new and interesting options of how to spend their time is one of our biggest challenges. And seeing them utilize all their options and sometimes create their own, is one of our biggest joys. And hopefully, one of their biggest joys as well.

Jamie (and J.B.) get new boots!

June 30th, 2015 by Katelyn

The chimpanzees had some good friends, Nikko and Billy, stop by with special gifts today. These two generous souls drove all the way down from British Columbia specifically to deliver multiple boxes of all but brand new boots from their family business, Stampede Tack and Western Wear in Canada! Many of the boots are men’s sizes and after suffering through wearing Jamie’s smaller boots, J.B. was pretty excited to find a pair that not only fit him, but were comfortable.

J.B. headed in to show Jamie, preparing to head out for a walk and as you may imagine, she was almost as excited as J.B. Jamie’s hair stood on end (pilo-erect), and she stomped her foot in excitement, but instead of heading out for a walk around the hill, Jamie decided she needed to inspect them immediately and demanded that J.B. hand them over. Too bad for J.B., it was almost like he had a birthday present taken away, but Jamie’s the boss around here.

Sometimes when Jamie gets really excited about something new, it’s almost as though she becomes overwhelmed and has to “walk away” to collect herself. After receiving the boots from J.B., Jamie took them into the playroom, softly hooting in excitement, but then she suddenly left them to sit out in the greenhouse momentarily. A few minutes later we found her with them, apparently ready to handle the excitement of her newest acquisitions.






Nikko, thanks so much to you and your family for such kindness and generosity! You made Jamie’s (and J.B.’s) day!

Burrito enjoys his lunch

June 29th, 2015 by Elizabeth

One of the unfortunate aftereffects of the anesthetic drugs Burrito received for his exam last Friday is that his stomach has been a little upset. For a guy who normally loves food above all else, this is the ultimate cruelty.

Luckily for Burrito, and for all of us who love to watch him love his food, his nausea seems to have all but disappeared. Here he is enjoying his lunch this afternoon. Turn your volume up and listen for his periodic low moans of contentment.

Negra in the Portrait Studio

June 28th, 2015 by Keri

I try to take photos of the chimpanzees whenever they are in the “the portrait studio” (an area in one of the front rooms that has great natural lighting). Negra was the first chimp I spotted there this morning, but the first two times I went to grab the camera and came back, she was gone. So, when I spotted her sitting on the ledge a third time, I debated getting the camera, thinking the same thing would happen again. Instead, she stayed there, stretched out her legs and let me see what she was “hiding” in her pelvic pocket.





This is not the first time that Negra has taken a liking to troll dolls. Take a look at the blog Diana wrote from last fall, when Negra brought a troll doll with her while foraging on Young’s Hill.

In Memory of Bryan Riner

June 28th, 2015 by Elizabeth

Today is sponsored for the chimpanzees in memory of Bryan Riner by his wife Judy and son Dax. Judy says:

This day of sanctuary is in memory of my husband Bryan Riner. Bryan died on Thanksgiving Day 2014; today would have been his 76th birthday. Over the last two years of his life, he became greatly interested in chimpanzees after reading Roger Fouts’s Next of Kin. He had great respect, admiration, and love for each of the Cle Elum 7, and he immensely enjoyed following their exploits on your blog. And so today our family wishes to honor a wonderful husband and father and his seven favorite chimps – as well as all the staff and volunteers at CSNW who provide sanctuary to these amazing beings. Thank you.

Thank you Judy and Dax; we’re honored that you thought of the Cle Elum 7 on such an important day for your family!


Burrito’s exam

June 27th, 2015 by J.B.

Recently, Burrito fractured a canine tooth. We don’t know how it happened exactly – in fact, we only became aware of the injury when we noticed it pointing straight out of his mouth, perpendicular to his other teeth. As with other significant injuries, we began by administering oral antibiotics and pain relievers and arranged for our local veterinarian, Dr. Zamzow, to come take a look. Dr. Zamzow then consulted with Dr. Mensching, also a veterinarian and a member of our board of directors, and Dr. Bezner from Save the Chimps, to come up with a plan to deal with Mr. B’s broken tooth.

If you don’t know this already, I should point out that chimpanzees are remarkably tough. Believe it or not, Burrito never missed a meal, and didn’t even seem to favor that side of his mouth when chewing. It’s really hard to appreciate how stoic chimps can be until you witness it yourself.

Despite his own lack of concern about the injury, a broken tooth can present serious risks for more severe pain and infection down the road, particularly the canines which are large and deeply rooted, so we decided that it would have to be repaired or extracted by a veterinary dentist. But as you may know, Burrito is already being treated for symptoms of heart disease, and that makes decisions about medical interventions a bit more complicated due to the risks of anesthesia. But when an intervention is required, for whatever reason, it presents an opportunity to learn more about his overall health, so we gathered an amazing group of people to help with Burrito’s treatment. And it was all made possible because you helped us build an onsite veterinary clinic.

Before we can make any decisions about how the treat the tooth, we need x-rays. Yesterday, two vet techs from Valley Veterinary Hospital in Ellensburg came to the sanctuary with digital radiography equipment to get pictures of his teeth and jaw. These x-rays will be shared with a board certified veterinary dentist, who has agreed to come to our clinic to treat Burrito, whatever that treatment may be. And because of our concerns about Burrito’s heart, we were grateful to have the assistance of a huge team of veterinary cardiologists, anesthesiologists, residents, and vet students from the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, all led by Cardiologist Dr. Lynn Nelson.

After receiving anesthetic injections inside the chimp house, Burrito was wheeled to the mobile clinic where he was intubated and placed onto gas anesthesia for the procedures. The anesthesiologists were able to ensure his safety by monitoring his airway gases and reading his vitals using ECG, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse ox equipment. Dr. Zamzow drew blood for CBC and chem profiles and obtained an urine sample.


With such a huge group of people, teams worked in shifts as much as possible.


But the clinic turned out to fit more people than we had expected. Technicians obtained dental x-rays while the cardiology team began the echocardiogram.


This imaging of Burrito’s heart will help us evaluate his initial diagnosis and may potentially provide avenues for better treatment. It will also help us determine how well he might handle the anesthesia required for a longer dental procedure. We will share the information we obtain with the Great Ape Heart Project to help improve the lives of other captive chimpanzees.


When the tests were complete, Burrito was placed back inside into one of the front rooms to recover from the anesthesia. The girls had to wait outside in the greenhouse until he was ready to deal with all of their excitement.


After a few hours of rest, he was ready for visitors on the other side of the caging. Jody and Foxie were particularly concerned about their buddy, but eventually all of the girls came to groom him through the bars. For his safety, he was not allowed to return to the group until he was 100% recovered from the anesthesia.


Both the general and injectable anesthesia can upset the stomach and make you feel all worn out, so Burrito took an additional day to lounge around by himself, waited on at all times by his staff of caregivers.


With the help of some anti-nausea medicine, he was feeling good enough this evening to join the gang for a dinner forage on the hill.

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In the coming weeks we will learn more about Burrito’s health from these tests, and the veterinary dentist will be able to decide the best coarse of action based on his x-rays and what the other tests tell us about his ability to tolerate prolonged anesthesia.

Exams like this aren’t easy on a chimp, and they’re pretty tough on the people who care about them too. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. Zamzow, Dr. Mensching, Dr. Bezner, Valley Veterinary Hospital, and the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for providing the best care a chimp could ask for. And to everyone who helped us build and equip our onsite clinic: You made it possible for him to receive this level of care. And I know you would agree that this guy deserves nothing less.



Cool, Cool Missy Chimpanzee

June 26th, 2015 by Diana

It may be a scorcher outside, but Missy is as cool as ever. She just has that “one of the cool people” vibe about her, don’t you think?

Missy cool bridge

Missy cool windowsill

Missy cool ledge 3

Missy cool ledge 2

Missy cool ledge 1

Missy cool close-up


June 25th, 2015 by Elizabeth

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