Twister Legacy

July 30th, 2016 by Diana

There are a number of things that I didn’t quite realize would be a part of helping to manage Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. One of these things is the depth of love that I would be privileged to witness among the humans who support the sanctuary.

I truly feel that the fans and supporters of the chimpanzees are part of an extended family. I am regularly in awe of the people who come together to look beyond themselves, and the pain that is part of existing in this world, to support the chimpanzees who live at CSNW and their new opportunity for life in a true home.

At the end of last year, a group of people came together to support Bill Walters, a friend who was going through cancer. Nicki and Bill Walters have been supporters for the sanctuary for years, in addition to supporting other animal rescue organizations in Washington.

There was an outpouring of love for Bill, so his friend Ken hatched a plan to use the collective donations towards the building of a new structure on the hill. The Twister structure was born.

Bill and Nicki were able to come out to the sanctuary to witness the chimpanzees exploring the structure after it was complete. It was a heartwarming day for me to be able to spend even just a little bit of time with Bill and be there with him to see the chimpanzees enjoy the structure named after him.







Last week, Bill lost his battle with cancer. His obituary is here.

I know that Nicki and all of Bill’s friends and family will never be the same. With his fun-loving nature and easy charm, Bill changed their lives for the better and his passing is a loss for them and for this world.

Bill, and the love that his friends demonstrated towards him, will always be remembered at the sanctuary through the tall tower on the hill.


Jamie on Twister


Jamie close up on Twister


Jamie on Twister dusk

The Christmas in July Celebration

July 29th, 2016 by J.B.

I have to admit, with temperatures pushing 100 degrees it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit. But after receiving dozens of items from our wish list over the past week, you can’t help but feel the spirit of giving in the air.


We’re so grateful for the support you’ve shown us – you helped stock our shelves with office and cleaning supplies; you gave us new medical equipment so that we can keep the chimps healthy; you sent food and treats for the chimps to enjoy and toys and enrichment to keep them occupied; and you gave us two gently used GoPro cameras so that we can give you a different perspective on life at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. We are truly humbled and grateful for your generosity.

This morning, we collected many of the items we’ve received so far and threw a little party for the chimps. I hope you can see the difference you make in their lives.

By the way, if you sent an item from our wish list and you don’t hear from us in a reasonable amount of time, please drop us a note. Packages from Amazon don’t always include information about the donor and we’d love to be able to thank you!

Merry Christmas in July!

Burrito and Becca play

July 28th, 2016 by Elizabeth

One of Burrito’s favorite activities in the world is playing with his caregivers. Sometimes you can’t even walk by him without him stomping his foot and inviting you to play. This afternoon I caught him and volunteer caregiver Becca in a silly game.

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

July 28th, 2016 by Katelyn

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Rachel Ruggeri! Rachel is such a wonderful friend to the chimps and she shared this lovely message about today:

“The chimps at the sanctuary are always first every year to send me a birthday card. And that card makes my day! So in honor of them, I want to celebrate by starting my year off with a donation to them. Happy Birthday to us all!”

Rachel, thank you SO much for celebrating your special day by ensuring the chimpanzees’ lives remain full of comfort, safety, adventure, love, laughter and goofiness! Our hearts are full of gratitude for all you do for these seven amazing people. Happiest of birthdays to you and we all send you wishes and hoots for a beautiful year ahead!


Annie with a huge playface (Missy's hand)









Missy (Annie in foreground):



Negra hoot face

Chow bags to go

July 27th, 2016 by Katelyn

After breakfast was served this morning everyone took their chow bags to go, be it to work (Jamie walking the perimeter), explore (Foxie and her Doras), or just head back to bed (Negra). We serve the chimps two small bags of primate chow biscuits each after breakfast and lunch and the chimps are usually anxious to receive them. But Missy was so anxious to go outside that she didn’t even stay long enough to take both her bags! She took one and rushed up the hill behind Jamie before setting off on her own.

Jamie headed straight for her beloved lookout on Twister, below the crow’s nest, followed by Jody (at base of Twister), Burrito and Annie (in lower right corner). It didn’t take long for Burrito to realize he’d gotten himself into a long walk, so he stopped briefly to stuff BOTH bags full of chow into his mouth before continuing on his way with the others:


Jamie and Jody at the top, as Burrito and Annie look around below:


Jamie enjoying her chow while somehow managing to look cool and relaxed. That foot!!



Missy quickly made her way to the top of Carlene’s Tower to enjoy her chow in solitude:



Foxie initially stayed below and explored with her twin Dora dolls:


But she eventually decided to follow the others up to the top of the hill and stopped briefly to toss the dolls on her back. This is how chimp mamas carry their children when on the go. We don’t know if Foxie does this as maternal behavior toward her dolls or if it’s just an easier way to carry them when she’s on the move, but nevertheless it’s always endearing.


Happy Birthday, Kathy!

July 27th, 2016 by Katelyn

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Kathy Sorensen!  The chimpanzees are so fortunate to have so many people who contribute to their lives in so many ways and we are so grateful. Kathy shared this beautiful message about today:

“I am sponsoring the chimps to celebrate my 60th birthday. I visited last year around my birthday and this year being a significant day for me I thought how better to celebrate! I get such joy each day from the group. Their new adventures and freedom are exciting and peaceful at the same time. I am so glad I found them and the organization.”

Happy Birthday, Kathy! Thank you so much for giving the chimpanzees this special day along with your own, helping to ensure that the hope, love, home and sanctuary made possible for them through people like you is something they get to celebrate and relish every single day of their lives. This was such a lovely thing to do and all of us here at CSNW hope you have the best birthday yet!  Thank you so much for sharing your life and your heart with these amazing chimps!

Jamie surveying her home from the crow’s nest of Twister:


Missy and Jamie playfully brachiating (swinging arm over arm) through the green house:

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Jamie, Burrito, and Foxie patrolling the perimeter of Young’s Hill together:


Jamie enjoying a magazine:


Jamie nesting with a beloved cowboy boot:



July 26th, 2016 by Anna

Last week J.B. got a video of Burrito’s Tug-o-war style. Well this week, Jamie and Foxie introduce us to their own take on the game.

Back to a few older favorites

July 25th, 2016 by Keri

Many of you have probably already seen yesterday’s blog of Foxie with her new doll. Watching the video again, I’m reminded of a question I am often asked regarding how long Foxie carries the same doll before she picks a new one. The answer is, it varies. Sometimes she carries the same doll for days in a row, bringing it with her on walks on Young’s Hill and sleeping with it in hand. Other times, it seems she goes back and forth between which doll(s) she likes best; leaving one behind only to come back to it later in the day. And still, at other times, her fascination in a particular doll is short lived. Luckily, Foxie has a plethora of dolls to choose from each and every day.

This morning, she had the same “new” doll she was given yesterday, but by this afternoon, she was back to holding a few of her older favorites.









A Moment of Peace

July 23rd, 2016 by Diana

Negra is not normally a “greet the morning with gusto” kind of a person. Like myself, she is more of a, “can I please have just 10 (make that 20) more minutes  of quiet before getting out of bed” kind of a person.

In the summer months, she changes her morning routine, though. Often before the humans arrive in the morning, Negra drags herself out of the nest she’s slept in on the catwalk or the loft of the playroom, and makes a new nest on top of the tall structure in the greenhouse.

Negra covering herself with a blanket


For some reason, most of the other chimps remain in the building, which allows Negra to have some glorious peace and quiet and alone time before the ruckus of the day begins.

This morning, she even had a little snack leftover from the night enrichment the previous evening.

Negra holding pinecone


Being able to witness moments like this is what makes my heart burst out of my chest for the love I have for Negra and the gratefulness I feel for everyone who shares this love.











Maybe we could just have 10 more minutes?

Negra covering herself with a blanket