Breakfast forage

March 27th, 2015 by J.B.

It was a nice morning for a breakfast forage on Young’s Hill.

Burrito’s first priority in a forage is always chow. He fills his mouth and both hands, and occasionally his feet too, before moving on to other foods like lettuce and smoothie.




Jody was lucky to find one of the two banana flowers that volunteer Stephanie brought this morning. She carried it with her as she foraged so that she could save the best for last.



Missy always finds the food that we throw up high into the climbing structures. That’s where she found the other banana flower.



Foxie is a smoothie fanatic.


Annie took a few moments to rest on Little Mount St. Helens while she scanned the area for more chow.


Jamie found the cups of smoothie that we hid at the very top of the hill.


She was also quite focused on gathering strawberries.



At first, Negra declined to go outside for the forage, so we gave her a snack in the greenhouse. But we were happy to see her make a brief appearance outside later in the morning.


Thank you, Leanne!

March 27th, 2015 by Katelyn

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Leanne Preble! Leanne shared the simple, but beautiful message that she wishes for this day to be in honor of “Hope. Love. Home…Sanctuary.” These simple words hold profound meaning for each of us. And we are privileged to witness on a daily basis what can happen for individuals when these things are provided. But we can only imagine what they truly mean for each of the chimpanzees after all they have endured.

Leanne, thank you so much for sponsoring this day to celebrate the chimpanzees and their lives in their sanctuary home. And may all those still awaiting their sanctuary be held in our thoughts as well.

The hope in Jamie’s eyes:

web Jamie hopeful close up eyes bright gh _MG_1655

The love of best friends, Annie and Missy:


and Burrito and Foxie:

web Burrito hug Foxie 2 IMG_3258

Jody, at rest in her home:

web jody nest blankets sleep front rooms IMG_0216

Negra, at peace in sanctuary:


Photos of the Day

March 26th, 2015 by Elizabeth

Annie (with a mouthful of alfalfa) watching BFF Missy explore Young’s Hill:




Jamie admiring caregiver Debbie’s boots:




Burrito grooming Foxie:


Missy in her element:


Negra in hers:


We can’t all be as cool as Missy

March 25th, 2015 by Katelyn

The beautiful Christmas tree that we bought for the chimpanzees (with the hopes of planting it for them when the weather warms up) has been taking a bit of a beating since the holidays. It’s currently living in the greenhouse, but seems be diminishing in size. We’ve seen Negra and Jody munching on it occasionally, and the other day Debbie captured these photos of Missy trying it out. In my mind it would be a pretty pokey snack, but I guess not in the mind of the chimpanzees.



If you’ve been following the blog awhile you may have seen us mention that Missy is really a “chimp’s chimp.” She usually prefers the company of her chimpanzee friends, particularly her best friend, Annie, to that of humans. It’s always a special treat when she chooses to engage with us in a sudden game of chase or asks us to groom her. But just to make sure we aren’t getting too ahead of ourselves, she often gazes about nonchalantly even when in the middle of a play session, just playing it cool, almost as if to say she’s not “really” engaging with the humans.

Missy’s aloofness also transfers to our attempts at getting photos of her as you can see in these. If we are lucky she sits still long enough to let us get a couple of shots, but she won’t often make eye contact for long. It’s just Missy’s way and we love that it’s always her choice to engage or not. And it makes those rare moments of Missy’s attention that much more of an honor.



Take Action Tuesday! Chimpanzee in new Comedy Central show

March 24th, 2015 by Debbie

EOA take action tuesday

Tomorrow night, March 25, Comedy Central is planning to air a new TV show called Big Time in Hollywood, FL. The show’s previews contain footage of a chimpanzee in several scenes.

The show was produced by Ben Stiller, who we hope will respond favorably to your feedback — but please hurry! The show premieres tomorrow and we would like to encourage the production to make sure the chimpanzee scenes are not included in the premiere. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees dressed up in clothing and in physical contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.



Recently, A&E canceled the show Wild Transport after receiving feedback from Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups about the use of chimpanzees in their show. We urge you to encourage Ben Stiller and Comedy Central to make the same progressive decision for Big Time In Hollywood, FL! Send him a letter (c/o his publicist), and let him know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment. We’ve set up a sample letter below which you can customize as you wish. You may also post on the show’s Facebook page.


Happy Anniversary, Arlene and Michael!

March 24th, 2015 by Katelyn

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Arlene and Michael in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary! The paths our lives take and the effect we can have on one another never ceases to amaze me. I am guessing that 25 years ago Arlene and Michael didn’t imagine they’d be celebrating this special anniversary with chimpanzees, or making a difference in the chimps’ lives by doing so. But we’re so grateful for all the amazing people and things life brings the chimps’ way every day.

Arlene and Michael, thank you so much for including the chimpanzees in your special day. We hope your day is full of all that you most love and enjoy. Happy Anniversary!

Foxie and Troll love:

web foxie troll in mouth look at camera YH IMG_8448

A Day in the Rainforest

March 23rd, 2015 by Elizabeth

Today’s enrichment theme is Rainforest Day, and we did our best to turn the sanctuary into a tropical paradise. Volunteer caregiver Becca arrived this morning with her arms full – she brought a giant roll of green paper for a canopy and many rolls of streamers.



The chimpanzees enjoyed a breakfast forage in the greenhouse. They searched the forest for apples, oranges, peanuts, and primate chow.












Annie, stockpiling some chow:



Picking the Right Boots

March 22nd, 2015 by Keri

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what Jamie wants and other times she makes herself quite clear. Many of you who follow the blog know by now that Jamie loves her boots. She especially loves having her caregivers put them on and join her on a walk around Young’s Hill (humans on one side of the electric fences and Jamie on the other side).

But how exactly does she let us know that she wants to go for a walk? And how does she let us know which boot or boots to wear? Sometimes we pick the right boot on the first try. Other times it takes a while to pick the right one. That was the case today. It took a good ten minutes to pick what turned out to be the right combination of boots to wear around Young’s Hill.

I love that final look on her face when we finally figured it out!

Sink enrichment

March 21st, 2015 by Debbie

Recently we got some toy sinks in the mail, and I knew right away Jamie would be interested. Sure enough, we filled up the sink with some soapy water, along with some dishes and scrub brushes, and she began her inspection.

First, she tried to take the thing apart. When that proved to be more work than she expected, she went to using the brush to dip into the bubbly water and wipe on her tongue. Mmm, tasty soapy water! (We use all plant-based, non-toxic soap, so it’s okay if the chimps decide to eat it).





Once she had explored the sink thoroughly, she grabbed a pencil and picked up the assembly instruction sheet we left behind.

Burrito’s big week

March 20th, 2015 by J.B.

This has been a pretty big week for Burrito.


Just two days ago, Katelyn wrote about how Burrito has been tagging along when Jamie and her caregivers walk around the hill. It’s a sign of his growing confidence that he’s able to venture further away form the security of the chimp house in the company of other chimps. But yesterday, Burrito decided that he doesn’t even need Jamie’s company anymore. Now he’s the one asking us to go on walks!


All day long, he’s been trying to capture our attention with playful stomps and head bobs. As soon as we approach, he runs up the hill, waiting just long enough for us to catch up before running off again. You can even hear him laughing as he runs.

Nearly seven years after their release from the lab, and three and a half years since their first experience outdoors, we are still witnessing the chimps grow physically and emotionally.

Burrito even played a lead role in a brief patrol today. This afternoon, an unusual bird call could be heard coming from the woods nearby. Jody was the first to check it out, as she often is. Burrito then walked to the top of the hill to join her.


At first, Foxie watched from a distance.


As did Annie.


But soon a group gathered at the top of the hill, and after a brief investigation, they determined that is was nothing to worry about.


So Burrito went right back to his new routine.


I sure hope this continues. I love to see him freely exploring the hill and taking advantage of all of the space that’s available to him. And I’m thrilled that he’s getting so much exercise. But if I’m being honest, there’s one other thing that I’m happy about, for purely selfish reasons:

He doesn’t make us wear cowboy boots.