Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

What’s in a Nest?

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

An intriguing article is making the rounds about a primatologist named Koichiro Zamma who has developed a bed, called the humankind evolution bed, that is based on how chimpanzees construct their own beds in the forests. Apparently he tried out a chimpanzee-constructed nest  while tracking chimpanzees in the wild and found it to be very comfortable, waking up quite refreshed after his night of nesting.

A prototype of his invention is currently on display at Kyoto University Museum in Japan. Articles say this about the bed: “The mattress features a depression in the centre to replicate the natural dip in a chimp’s treetop bed and has a raised periphery for the head, legs and arms. It is supported by a frame made from woven paper string for maximum breathability, and eight curved legs that are designed to allow the bed to rock almost imperceptibly.”

humankind evolution bed

Megumi Kaji of the Research Association of Sleep and Society takes a nap on the humankind evolution bed. Photograph: Koichiro Zamma

 

As we’ve written in the past, chimpanzees in captivity make similar constructions for their nests as their free-living counterparts, building up walls of material (blankets, straw, paper, etc), and laying in the middle.

Jody is a master nest-maker:

 

Missy makes a pretty mean nest too. This was one of my favorite photos from the early days of the sanctuary:

 
Missy in tire nest

In fact, these two were featured in this tutorial-style blog post about how to nest.

Here are some more photos of nesting from the Cle Elum Seven:

Jamie's paper nest

Missy constructed nest

Missy sleeping in a big nest

Negra nesting

 

I have to admit that I wonder if perhaps Zamma’s restful night of sleep was due to being particularly exhausted after a day of following chimpanzees around the forest, but I remain intrigued.

What do you think – are chimpanzees on to something that we should be paying attention to? Should we ditch our flat mattresses? Would you want a humankind evolution bed?

 

FOXIE for the 2nd Day of HOOT! & Wild Chimpanzees with Doll Rocks

Monday, April 25th, 2016

We were all so touched by the incredible Sponsor-a-Day posted from Megan and her husband earlier today in memory of Baby H.

So, it seems appropriate to make today about celebrating Foxie. A video came up in my news feed on Facebook that is also Foxie-related. It is a short interview with Dr. Richard Wrangham and a fascinating look at juvenile chimpanzees in the wild who seem to be treating rocks as dolls.

Here’s a link to the video: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160422-the-young-chimpanzees-that-play-with-dolls

Does this seem like a doll-loving chimpanzee you know?

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Because we are counting down to HOOT!, I’m sharing this image that will be one of just seven exclusive metal prints that can be bid on during the Happy Hour reception at the event on Saturday (minus the HOOT! logo):

Foxie image

Wondering what else will be happening during the Happy Hour? So much! Each guest will receive two drink tickets good for beer, wine, or two custom cocktails (delicious non-alcoholic punch is also available). And everyone can give with their hearts at the Hope, Love, and Home stations staffed by the best friends of the Cle Elum Seven – the sanctuary staff. Guests can ask questions, learn more about the chimps, and contribute directly to the area of care that speaks to them the most while earning a heart to personalize and add to the Heart Board.

Today’s countdown to the celebration of the year, just days away, is thanks to chimpanzee friends Tracy Headley and Poppoff Inc who are Happy Hour sponsors for HOOT!

 

Poppoff Logo

 

I am getting so very excited about the event this year, I might just do some pirouettes and spinning today in honor of Foxie.

Take Action Tuesday: Tell Geico to stick to the gecko

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Take Action Tuesday banner

 

Go to the Geico Action Alert now.

 

We are faced with constant reminders that many chimpanzees out there do not have the happy life that the chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest currently have.

It took many years and many advocates fighting for the CSNW chimpanzees, and others like them, before they finally made it to a sanctuary. This is why it is so important that we continue to spread information when we know of other chimpanzees being exploited or in dire situations.

Though many strides have been made, the entertainment industry has been, surprisingly, slower to respond to public concern about the use of great apes than the biomedical industry. This clearly needs to change.

You have the opportunity today to help usher that change. A new ad is currently running on television by the insurance company Geico that contains a short clip of a chimpanzee. They have tried to deflect our concerns by saying that the American Humane Association asserted that no animals were harmed on set, but the letter they sent to us with this certification referred to the chimpanzee in the ad as a monkey!

Please take a moment to write to Geico about why chimpanzees do not belong in entertainment (you can personalize the email) and share this action alert far and wide.

 

Geico no

 

It really does only take a minute, and it really does make a difference.

 

Go to the Geico Action Alert now.

 

These resilient spirits

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Foxie has become quite the celebrity. As Diana mentioned in her blog post several days ago, the story of Foxie’s history, her life in the lab, and her subsequent discovery of her love for troll dolls and Dora the Explorer and has been shared in The Dodo and the Huffington Post. Since then her story continues to travel the globe and has been seen in the Daily Mail, KOMO News, the Berliner Kurier to name a few, and most recently, ABC News. And it seems there’s more to come! We are thrilled to see Foxie’s story being shared and the opportunity for so many people to learn about all that she has overcome since arriving to her sanctuary home.

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As the stories relate, and you may be aware, Foxie was used in part as a “breeder” during her time in biomedical research (in addition to being used in hepatitis vaccination research, as were Annie, Burrito, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra). Foxie gave birth to four children, two daughters and two sons, a rare set of twins. All of whom were taken from her immediately, or shortly after birth, to continue their own lives being used as research subjects.

It’s hard to imagine such unfathomable loss and suffering. And yet, most of us can relate on some level. I think that is why Foxie’s story touches so many of us. And the fact that she has become so enamored with her beloved trolls and Dora the Explorer only appeals that much more to our hearts. While the dolls of course, will never make up for the loss of Foxie’s children, knowing that she’s found something that makes her heart light up and upon occasion direct her mothering instincts toward is immensely heartwarming.

But something that I hope also comes from this opportunity for more people to learn about Foxie’s story, is the opportunity for more people to learn about other chimpanzees with her history. For as truly special as Foxie and her story are, this is the story of every chimpanzee in biomedical research, and in fact, for every animal in biomedical research. This is the story of animals in the entertainment and pet industries, factory farming, and countless other arenas where animals’ lives, intelligence, emotions, families, communities, and well-being are seen as less valuable than ours.

Every time I see someone’s heart and mind open up when they learn of Foxie’s story, I am given hope that those who feel inclined to do so will seek out more information, ask questions, and consider how they can make a difference in the lives of others by the choices they make in their own. Because I can tell you, no matter how small you might feel what you have to offer is, it can make a huge difference to someone else.

This story is also that of Annie, Missy, Jody and Negra who also had their children stolen from them in the same manner. All of their children have been deprived of being raised and nurtured by their mother, being part of a chimpanzee family in which they learn important social skills and experience family bonding. Annie gave birth to 7 children, Jody gave birth to 9 children, Missy gave birth to 3 children and had one miscarriage, and Negra gave birth three children. And although Jamie and Burrito are not parents to any children we are aware of, they are not exempt from the devastating loss of family.

By this time, you might be thinking, “Katelyn, we don’t want to read all of this heartbreaking stuff!” I get that. But I also invite you to look beyond the painful things toward what you have helped provide these chimpanzees and hopefully, those to come in the future. All around us are examples of how resilient the human spirit is. And thanks to you, we get to see on a daily basis how resilient the chimpanzees’ spirits are when given the space to heal. They inspire me every single day. In short, they are my heroes. I am grateful to my bones that they each finally get the opportunity to find things that make their hearts and souls sing. Whether it’s a cowgirl boot, open spaces to run to one’s hearts content, a best friend, fresh food, a cozy blanket nest, or yes, a troll or Dora doll.  Thanks to you, each one of these very special people is provided with love, care, dignity and family.

Today, after a couple weeks of a seemingly endless wild rumpus of stormy weather, things have lulled and the sun even made an appearance. Annie, Foxie, Jody, and Missy were first onto the hill (yes, even before Jamie!) to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh air. I watched them for a long time as they moved over the hill together, these chimpanzees who have become family for one another. Each enjoying their own activities, but staying within sight of one another, quick to offer backup or reassurance over perceived threats to their home, in this case, barking pups below and hawks calling out above. (Jamie eventually sauntered right past me and headed off to patrol the perimeter all on her own and Burrito chose to enjoy the greenhouse).

Annie enjoyed a long awaited sit in the sun. I love how relaxed her hands are and my heart melted a little when she sat gazing up at the sky.

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Jody (above) and Foxie (below) checked out the entire length of structures together:

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Just as Jody was headed back in after her stroll on the hill, she stopped on high alert and ran to back-up Missy from the dreaded dog barking.

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Jody and Missy patrolled the perimeter together and once it was certain the threats had been averted, Jody headed back to the warmer greenhouse and Missy continued exploring:

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And Negra chose to remain comfy and warm in her nest, knowing all is well:

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The traumas we are all inflicted with at some point in life always leave their marks. But so does hope. So does dignity. And so does love.

Take Action: Trunk Monkey Ads

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Take Action Tuesday banner

 

Today, we’re asking for your help. We’ve reached out to the Suburban Auto Group multiple times over the years about their “Trunk Monkey” ads using chimpanzees who were abused during their years in entertainment.

 

web_chimp-driving-car-trunk-monkey-no-sign copy     No Trunk Monkey

 

Instead of listening to our concerns, retiring the old and tired campaign, and coming up with more creative advertising, the car dealership outside of Portland, Oregon keeps bringing the Trunk Monkey ads back.

Please help us in continuing to reach out to them today by learning more and sending a polite email to Erinn Sowle, Suburban Auto Group’s general manager, via this page.

Thank you for speaking out and sharing the action alert with your contacts. Your voice makes a difference!

 

A moment to celebrate

Friday, September 4th, 2015

In ten days, all invasive research on chimpanzees in the United States will cease. Let that sink in for a minute.

Burrito hugging Foxie

In response to a petition by a coalition of animal welfare groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is elevating the status of all chimpanzees to endangered, thereby granting them a greater level of protection. Beginning on September 14th, any activity that causes harm to chimpanzees will require a permit, and permits will only be issued for research that benefits wild chimpanzees or conservation efforts. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the effective deadline for obtaining a permit was today, due to public notice requirements. And as of today, no permits have been issued.

It’s hard to overstate how important this is. For nearly a hundred years, chimpanzees have suffered and died in our pursuit of scientific and medical advancements. Later this month, all invasive research on chimpanzees will, at least for a moment, come to an end. Whether any permits will be requested in the future is uncertain, but this much is clear: the era of widespread chimpanzee research in the United States is over. And that’s worth celebrating.

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Now we need to get these chimpanzees into sanctuaries. We told you at the beginning of this year about our plans for the future of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, and we’re excited to report that, thanks to your generosity, we are ahead of schedule. We’re looking forward to sharing our vision for expanding the sanctuary as it develops and working with you to see it to fruition.

At CSNW, these seven chimpanzees have found a home where they are loved and respected and supported by people around the world. But inside every laboratory, there is a Missy longing to run free, an Annie aching for companionship, a Jody yearning for comfort, a Foxie wishing for someone to play with, a Burrito dreaming of a good meal, a Jamie desperate for a sense of control, and a Negra who wants nothing more than to bask in the sun. They all deserve a life in sanctuary. We, as a community, will make that happen.

Today is for Missy and the “Wagmanagerie”!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

There is so much to celebrate today and we’re so fortunate to have had two people sponsor this day of sanctuary! Our first sponsor, Martin Hollander, sponsored today in honor of his chimpanzee pal, Missy, on her birthday, as well as his human pals, Bruce and Deb Wagman, and their animal family, all lovingly referred to as “the Wagmanagerie.”

Bruce and Deb volunteer countless hours in countless ways to ensure the well-being and life long care of the chimpanzees. They are compassionate and generous beings who advocate tirelessly to improve the lives of so many animals. We are honored to have them as part of our chimpanzee family. Deb and Bruce, we love you guys and hope today is full of love, comfort and joy for you.

Deb and her buddy, Burrito:

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And we also celebrate beloved Missy as she turns 40 years young today! Missy is one of those amazing people who despite everything she has suffered, lost and endured, has opened the door to her life in sanctuary and run toward it. Figuratively and literally. She seems to embrace every minute of her days whether she is running across Young’s Hill or through the chimp house with utter joy and abandon, chasing her best friend, Annie, foraging for wild greens, racing her caregivers to the garden window to ask for tomatoes, or backing up her chimpanzee family without hesitation. She is such a special chimpanzee woman. We love you Missy! Happy Birthday!!

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Martin, thank you so much for sponsoring such a special day and for all that you do for Missy and her family!

Check back shortly to learn about our second sponsor for the day!

Chimpanzees and insect eating

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

When I started to write this, J.B. was leading a Summer Visit tour:

JB giving presentation

I’d be willing to bet that one of the things he explained is what we put in the termite mound / treat rock on Young’s Hill. Generally, what we say is that the termite mound mimics ant hills or termite mounds that chimpanzees encounter in the wild, and we provide the chimpanzees with tools to access the goodies inside. It’s great enrichment because it involves tool use and problem solving, and it taps into natural chimpanzee behavior.

The difference, we explain, is that chimpanzees in captivity do not appreciate termites and ants! They react to “bugs” the same way most industrialized human cultures do – as a nuisance, but definitely not as a source for food. And that is why, instead of insects, we put things like mashed up bananas and/or peanut butter in the mound for the chimpanzees to fish out.

The chimpanzees, however, have a way of proving what we say to be wrong. I still don’t think that any of the chimpanzees would appreciate it if we put insects in the pvc tubes that screw into the termite mound, but Jamie and Missy have recently discovered a surprising delicacy – wasp larvae.

This is doubly surprising, given that the chimps certainly do not like wasps, and Jamie has been stung before. Apparently, that risk is worth harvesting this new treat. I wonder how they even discovered that the nests contained something they would like!

Here are a few photos I managed to get of Jamie with a nest that she brought in from Young’s Hill:

Jamie with a wasps' nest

 

Jamie with a wasps' nest 4

 

Jamie with a wasps' nest 3

 

Watching her, it wasn’t entirely clear to me how much of the larvae she was eating, because she seemed to be selectively eating some parts and not others, but she was clearly enjoying the experience:

Jamie with a wasps' nest 2

 

I haven’t been able to capture any photos of Missy with wasp nests, so you’ll have to take my word that she is very excited when she has a nest, perhaps even more so than Jamie.

 

Speaking of Missy, it’s her 40th birthday tomorrow!!!

Missy on the hill

Above is a photo of Missy from today as she took a rest before running the perimeter of Young’s Hill.

 

I defy anyone to call Missy old – she has one of the youngest spirits I’ve known in a chimpanzee. Whether she is searching for wasp nests, running like mad, wrestling with her BFF Annie, or demanding garden tomatoes, she demonstrates, daily, a sense of freedom that she’s found in her second chance at life (read this blog post from 2014 about Missy’s quite literal second chance).

We will be having a big celebration for Missy 40th tomorrow, so be sure to check here on the blog for photos of the party and wish her a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday, Harry Hmura!

Monday, July 6th, 2015

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Alison Chapot in honor of Harry Hmura’s birthday! Alison has been a long time supporter and friend of the chimpanzees and in celebrating today she shared, “Harry is a dear friend and advocate for apes around the world.”

Harry Hmura is a musician and volunteers his performances to bring awareness to great apes and the sanctuaries that many of these individuals call home and assist with fundraising. Gaining inspiration from Dr. Jane Goodall and all of the great apes, Harry created a unique project called, I AM, I AM, in which he composed and produced an album using great ape vocalizations. “The entire collection of great ape vocal recordings, beginning in 2007, of chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons including background environment sounds were recorded at sanctuaries or in natural indigenous habitats around the world.”

“I AM, I AM Project’s mission is sharing half the proceeds for much needed funding with sanctuaries around the world. Sanctuaries are amazing places, innocent beautiful lives, the spirit between humans and great apes. They are home to individuals, each unique from the next with different names and faces rescued from laboratory research, the entertainment and pet industry, the bushmeat trade and loss of habitat. They provide life time care, rehabilitation, companionship, shelter, protection, even sometimes reuniting family members, bringing new meaning and desires to life.”

Alison, thank you so very much for thinking of the chimpanzees and giving them a special day as you honor your friend, Harry, and celebrate his life!

Harry, we are so grateful to you for the work you do to advocate for great apes and sanctuaries worldwide. Thank you for sharing your talent and compassion by bringing awareness of these incredibly special beings to so many others and helping to make a real difference in their lives.

Jamie, always living her life to the fullest:

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The gift of Annie

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

For weeks, no, months, I have had the idea to do “A Day in the Life of…” each of the chimpanzees on the blog. Seems simple enough, right? Well, when you consider each individual chimp, their moods and varying preferences for being photographed (let alone being followed around all day by a photographer), not to mention all the things that can occur during a day working in the chimp house, it’s not as simple as I’d envisioned. Case in point: Annie. Attempting to be systematic in my approach, I’ve wanted to start with her. Beautiful, dear, sweet Annie, who doesn’t always prefer to have her photo taken or is often running at mach speed with her best friend, Missy. So my idea keeps getting pushed to the back burner of the blog.

But I’ve found myself thinking of Annie a lot these past days because her son, Virgil, (who resides at Save the Chimps) celebrated his birthday this week. Annie gave birth to her first son, Tobias, when she was just a child herself, probably a mere 9 years old. In the wild, chimpanzees typically have their first child around the age of 14. But being used in the labs as a “breeder” Annie was forced to begin breeding with many males starting at the age of 7. All for the purpose of supplying more chimpanzees for biomedical testing. Over the next decade, Annie gave birth to six more babies – Abby, Petra, Brooke, Virgil, Mariah and Damien. Two of her children, Virgil and Mariah, who both are so fortunate to be living at Save the Chimps in Florida, are her only living offspring. Tobias (Chimp Haven) and Damian (Save the Chimps) were also fortunate to have made it to sanctuary, but have sadly passed away. Petra, we believe, passed away while still at New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), and sadly, we don’t have much information on Abby or Brooke, but believe they have passed away as well.

Annie was never allowed to care for her babies for more than a few days. In each case she was anesthetized and her children were taken from her and moved to the nursery to be raised by humans until they were, themselves, used as lab subjects. Chimpanzees are highly invested in the raising of their children, much like humans, and under natural circumstances chimpanzee mothers will nurse their infants until they are 4-5 years of age. Their bond is incredibly strong and often remains so throughout their lives.

One of the things I love most about looking at photos of the chimpanzees’ children, are seeing their mothers in them. In the gaze of their eyes, their smiles, the way they hold their body, or even certain mannerisms. To see that even though their histories are tragic, their mothers are there with them in some way. I love seeing beautiful Annie in her son Virgil (photo credited to Save the Chimps):

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Annie:

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Annie’s history is devastating. To revisit it, however briefly, takes the breath out of me every time. Annie’s history is not unique to the chimpanzees residing here, nor is it unique to all chimpanzees who have suffered, or suffer still from a life in biomedical research labs, entertainment or the pet industry. But I choose to revisit it today not to feel sorry for her, but to celebrate her. To pay honor the incredible person she is. The internal strength and resilience of spirit that speaks to who she really is. Her ability to find joy in her life each day, to increasingly overcoming the sometimes debilitating anxiety she demonstrated when she first arrived here, and her finding enough comfort in her own skin to enjoy peace and solitude.

Annie’s ability to do these things never excuses what was done to, and stolen from, her. But she is not a victim. She is a strong, intelligent, resilient, sweet, gentle, loving soul. A sweet soul who took another step away from her past this morning and for the first time (with me) flopped on the floor and asked me to tickle her head and ears, laughing all the while. This amazing chimpanzee woman is a gift to us all. It’s a gift for her to be able to share herself with us and for us to be able to witness her healing. But more importantly, it’s a gift for her to live her life in peace, and to be her amazing self, each moment of every day. And none of this would be possible without you.

So in celebration of Annie (as she enjoys a tea party):

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And goodnight from Annie, yawning from her nest at the top of the greenhouse. Out there all on her own, her eyes growing heavy as she looks out over Young’s Hill and the summer breeze occasionally ruffles her hair:

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Learn more about each of the chimpanzees’ history on our Eyes on Apes page and celebrate the amazing and unique individuals they truly are.