Rainy Day? Time to Play

October 20th, 2016 by Elizabeth

It’s a gray, rainy day in Cle Elum but Foxie and Jamie are keeping themselves entertained inside. (Make sure your volume is up for some great breathy chimp laughter starting around 0:40.)


October 19th, 2016 by Katelyn

Luxuriate in the sun, play, repeat. Temperatures were at freezing this morning and the chimps spent a lot of time lined up along the catwalk of the chimp house luxuriating in the sunny windows and grooming and/or playing with one another. At one point, everyone was bunched together enjoying the warmth of the sun and one another.

Annie was particularly enjoying herself, stretched out in the bright light half asleep. But that didn’t stop her from a lazy game of toe grabbing (and nibbling) with her best friend, Missy:



(Notice Annie gently play-biting Missy’s toes) 🙂



Eventually, Missy gave in and decided to groom Annie, arm poised mid-air, basking in the warmth of the sun and friendship:


Relationship Status: It’s Complicated, with Jamie Chimpanzee

October 18th, 2016 by Anna

Jamie chimpanzee is a domineering individual and her good friend Foxie is well aware of it. During forages, Jamie pulls rank and controls a great deal of the space around her. She will gather her forage bounty together, sometimes in handfuls, often using a container to keep a hand free for foraging. The other chimpanzees know not to mess with the boss’s collection, but it’s not always so clear what she has staked a claim to.

Last Friday we put out a lettuce forage to entice the chimps into the playroom so we could close off the front rooms for cleaning. We also put out a brand new France Dora the Explorer Doll for Foxie. This particular doll is one of Foxie’s all time favorites. Watch the video to see Foxie test the boundaries of her and Jamie’s complicated relationship.

The Simple Things

October 17th, 2016 by Elizabeth

Savoring a creamy avocado next to a sunny window must be one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than sweet Annie.

The Chimps and Young’s Hill

October 16th, 2016 by Keri

When I think of the chimp that spends the most time in the chimps’ 2 acre outdoor enclosure, I think of Jamie. On any given day, she’s busy walking, watching, inspecting, patrolling and sometimes even just taking in the views, all from Young’s Hill. And when the weather is right, she stays out late until the last bit of sunlight fades into darkness. So, it seems appropriate that I associate her with Young’s Hill.

Here’s a picture taken of Jamie last week on her solo trip around the hill.

But, as I walked out to meet Jamie for her first perimeter walk around Young’s Hill this morning (I, safely on the outside of the electric fences and her on the inside) almost all of the other chimps were already on the hill. Annie, Foxie and Burrito were already climbing to the top of Jamie’s Lookout at the uppermost part of the hill. Missy was busy running around and Jody was on the lookout for plants to forage.

When I saw the other chimps already on the hill this morning, it really dawned on me how much each of the chimpanzees at CSNW have changed throughout the past eight years. Each and every one of the chimps is growing more confident and adventurous as they choose to spend more and more time exploring their open air, outdoor enclosure.

And now, when I think about Young’s Hill, I think about Negra staying out late to forage on the wild plants on top of Young’s Hill. I think about Burrito climbing to the top of the highest structures and Annie and Foxie spending more and more time exploring on their own. I think of Missy’s acrobatic moves off of any and everything she can find and Jody’s never-ending search for wild plants to forage upon. Of course, I’ll continue to think about Jamie and her perimeter patrols, but I’m so glad to think of Young’s Hill and every one of the chimps now.

Annie on top of Jamie’s Lookout.

Foxie joined Annie on top of the tower.

And so did Burrito.

After looking around, the chimps started making their way back down the structure and back toward the building.




Once the girls made their way down the ladder, Burrito quickly followed.





Missy was a blur most of the time she was on the hill this morning, but I was able to catch her as she sat for a minute (more like a couple of seconds) on top of one of the structures.


Jody grabbed a bite from the spruce tree that JB planted on the hill (it was used as a Christmas tree a few years ago.)



Rainy Memories

October 15th, 2016 by Diana

You have probably heard about, or maybe you are experiencing, the dramatic storm that is hitting the Pacific Northwest today.

The majestic Cascade Mountain Range protects Cle Elum from a lot of the wetter weather that our friends to the west in the Seattle area receive, and we are certainly not getting the extreme rain and wind that is expected closer to the coast. Nevertheless, it rained ALL day today, and it’s still coming down.

This is what the chimpanzees were up to today (similar to many of you, I suspect):


Jamie watching the rain from the greenhouse:

Jamie looking out of greenhouse

Don’t worry – Jamie managed to get a walk in before it really started to come down.


Annie nesting in the front rooms:

Annie in nest


Yesterday, Margaret, a friend and supporter who has known the chimpanzees since their arrival, reminded me of the first time the chimpanzees experienced a real rainstorm at the sanctuary. Margaret was volunteering that day. It was almost exactly eight years ago.

I wrote about the chimpanzees’ experience and posted photos in the blog post Rainstorm Bravery. This was three years before Young’s Hill was complete and before the greenhouse panels were on, so the rain came down right into what is now the greenhouse.

Imagine your very first experience being able to go out into a rainstorm (or just watch from the safety and comfort of your bed). Though they were in their 20s and 30s, everything in their sanctuary life was just so new to the chimpanzees.

Today, the rain doesn’t faze them too much, but when we get thunderstorms or other out-of-the-ordinary weather, they do still react. One of my favorite experiences at the chimp house was watching Burrito do a “rain dance” in 2013.

In honor of the power of weather, the connection that we have to our environment, and the inner chimpanzee in all of  us, I’ve reposted the video below.

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm as you wait out the storm.


The Tortoise and the Hare

October 14th, 2016 by J.B.

The Tortoise and the Hare is a helpful allegory, but who wins in real life? The tortoise (Jamie) or the hare (Missy)?

The Lost Photos

October 13th, 2016 by Elizabeth

Many of the photos we take of the chimpanzees each day never make it onto the blog. Here are a few that I’ve taken in the last couple of weeks that I just found hiding on the hard drive.











Speaking of photos you may have missed, the 2017 CSNW Calendar is now available in our online store! Here’s a sneak peak:


If you’re as smitten with these chimps as we are, don’t pass up the opportunity to look at their amazing faces every day of the year!

Foliage with Foxie and a friend

October 12th, 2016 by Anna

Each day this month, Autumn seems to get just a bit more vivid at the sanctuary. This morning dawned with a new icy snap in the air and thick frost on caregivers’ car windshields. After the chimpanzees ate breakfast, the inviting sun took the edge off the chilly air and Young’s Hill became a warm golden playground.

Foxie carried her “Kate” doll with her this morning as she explored. Kate’s red hair fits right in with the views of the fall foliage.




The celebration for Vicki continues!

October 11th, 2016 by Katelyn

Today was also generously sponsored by Jim Horton in honor of his mother, Vicki Fagerlee, for her birthday! We are so touched by Vicki’s family who have come together throughout the day to celebrate Vicki and the chimpanzees who mean so much to her!

Jim, thank you so much for honoring your mother in such a thoughtful way! What an amazing gift to be able to make a difference in the lives of these seven special individuals as you all celebrate someone who is so special to you.

Happy Birthday, Vicki, from all of the primates at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with the chimpanzees and including them in your special day! We are so grateful to you and your family for ensuring that for all their days forward, the chimps’ lives will be full of love, family and home.

And since you share a birthday month with the boss lady, Jamie, I thought we should recall all the pumpkin joy this month brings. If the chimps could send you a birthday wish, they might say with any luck you have your own head stuck inside a yummy pumpkin right now! 😉 But we humans just hope you have something like a nice cake or anything made of chocolate that brings you equal happiness. 🙂


web_jamie hold pumpkin halloween birthday party playroom IMG_1170

Jody testing out Jamie’s past birthday pumpkin:

web Jody kiss pumpkin party playroom IMG_1184

web Jody bite pumpkin close up playroom IMG_1183

Negra and Jody:

web_negra jody full face eat food pumpkin halloween party birthday playroom IMG_1235





Jody and Missy:

web_jody missy kiss reassurance pumpkin eat food halloween birthday playroom IMG_1261



Burrito. Of course.

web burrito head in pumpkin halloween birthday eat food funny playroom IMG_1309