Archive for the ‘Alamogordo Primate Facility’ Category

Levi’s birthday

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

We love to throw parties for the chimps’ birthdays at the sanctuary. After over five years at CSNW, we’ve really seen how the chimps are “aging backwards” with each passing birthday—which is just all the more reason to celebrate! For five out of the seven, we celebrate an honorary birthday because we don’t know their actual birth dates, either because they were captured in the wild, or because their records are so scarce.

We commemorate Jody’s honorary birthday every year on Mother’s Day because she had nine babies in the lab in nearly as many years, more than any of the other females at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

One of Jody’s children, Levi, was born this day 30 years ago. He is now the same age as Burrito.

I’d love to say that we will be celebrating today in his honor, but Levi is not in a sanctuary. He is still living in a laboratory. Levi was one of the small group transferred from Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico, to Texas Biomed in San Antonio a few years ago.

This was the only note written in Jody’s record, on his day of birth “11/23/83 — Delivered healthy infant male #88… removed and taken to nursery (Levi).”

Levi didn’t have the opportunity to grow up with his mother, and there is more and more evidence that points to how important it is for chimpanzees to be with their mothers. A recent study looked at a group of free-living male chimpanzees who were separated from their mothers, and 87% of the sample group died earlier than the expected lifespan.

Levi is still alive, but it’s unlikely that his birthday will be any different than any of the last 29 birthdays that he has lived in laboratories.

Levi and the approximately 866 other chimpanzees still in research in this country deserve to be in sanctuary.

As many of you know, the NIH announced that they are planning to retire about 300 of their chimpanzees. Just this week congress passed an amendment to the Chimp Act which increases the spending cap on federal sanctuary support, and it’s currently on the President’s desk waiting to be signed. This is a good step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.

Be sure to subscribe to the Eyes on Apes Take Action Alerts to be notified when we need to voice our support for the release of chimpanzees still imprisoned in laboratories.



Jody in the lab:

eb crop jody hand out buckshire cage IMG_0816

Jody in sanctuary:

web Jody best new blankets nest playroom IMG_2376

web Jody droopy lip grass yh IMG_8648

web Jody hold onions Annie's birthday Young's Hill YH IMG_7283

web Jody eat flower green grass YH IMG_3414

web ed Jody eat nut food first day exploring youngs hill IMG_0181

News from the NIH Working Group on Chimpanzees

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

There was an important meeting today in DC, reporting the recommendations of a working group that has been looking very carefully at the federal funding of chimpanzees in research (you can read more about the working group here). Although the recommendations will still be reviewed by the NIH and undergo a public comment period prior to becoming “official,” it’s an exciting change on the horizon for our chimpanzee friends, including Jody’s son Levi.

The recommendations reflect the writing on the wall  – that the US is heading in the same direction that the rest of the world has already gone – toward phasing out the use of chimpanzees in research. While not an outright ban, the recommendations call for a significant number of the chimpanzees owned and supported by the government to be permanently retired. Any research that would be allowed under the recommendations released today would have to occur in vastly different environments than those in which chimpanzees are currently kept. Here are a few main points:

  • Most current biomedical use of chimpanzees should end. Some behavioral and genomic research might be able to continue (pending meeting other new requirements below).
  • The chimpanzees not needed for federal research should be retired to appropriate sanctuaries through the Federal Sanctuary System, and the federal government has an obligation to pay for this retirement.
  • The Working Group carefully and closely defined “ethologically appropriate” conditions, under which all federally owned and supported chimpanzees must be kept. These include physical and social requirements such as group makeup and enclosure size. No current laboratory environment meets these requirements.
  • There is no need for a large reserve colony of chimpanzees to be maintained for “unknown unknowns” – meaning some unexpected virus or emergent disease that we don’t know about yet. They did discuss the need for a small (50 chimpanzees) reserve colony to be housed in one facility and meeting the ethologically appropriate requirements.
  • An independent oversight committee should have final review and approval authority on any chimpanzee research proposals that make it through the NIH funding process. This committee would ensure that any projects being funded meet all of the criteria set forth.

You can read the full report here. Again, it’s not an outright ban. But no one expected that. It is overall a very good set of recommendations that sets very high standards for taking care of chimpanzees, and it signals an impending end to their use and exploitation.  I have to admit that my eyes welled up a little while listening to the meeting, thinking about the potential to help so many more chimpanzees. So much has changed, for the better, since I first started taking care of chimpanzees (over 15 years ago!). I see a day when we’re done with all this stuff, and I never dreamed of that 15 years ago.

It’ll probably be April before the NIH makes a final decision on these recommendations, and we’ll be sure to share links for public comment so that you can lend your voice on behalf of the Cle Elum Seven, their friends and relatives, and chimpanzees across the country.


Celebrating another day on the hill

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

There’s so much to celebrate this week, from Save the Chimps final migration to the NIH’s dramatic announcement about the role of chimpanzees in biomedical research.

Here at the sanctuary, the chimps celebrated another sunny winter day by running around their 2-acre enclosure.

Update: how you can help chimpanzees

Friday, November 4th, 2011

For Seattleites and other Washingtonians who missed the talk on Wednesday, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has posted information about how you can help chimpanzees by contacting Senator Patty Murray. Time is of the essence, so do this today. Find all the info you need here (including a link for those who live outside of Washington):

For those who did come to the talk – thank you! It was great to see both familiar and new faces. As we said on Wednesday, we are hopeful that biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees in the U.S. can end soon. Jody’s son Levi and all of the chimpanzees still used as experimental subjects need your voices to make this happen.

PCRM’s Research Policy Specialist Noelle Callahan and Director of Public and Government Affairs Elizabeth Kucinich visited the sanctuary yesterday. Normally shy, Burrito spent the entire visit staring at Elizabeth Kucinich. I do believe he’s in love.

In the photo below, left to right, is Sarah, Noelle Callahan, me and Elizabeth Kucinich.

Chimpanzees in the News

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Last week was a banner week for newspaper articles about chimpanzees and their protection.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest was the subject of a great article published yesterday (front page of the print edition) in the Yakima Herald Republic. Read it here and be sure to share it with others by sharing the link or scrolling down to the bottom of the article and clicking on the “share” button.


On Friday, a compelling guest column by our friend Debra Durham was published in the Seattle Times. Debra wrote about her take on a recently released film and the realities within the fictional story in the column Depiction of lab animals in ‘Planet of the Apes’ disturbingly accurate.


Recently, a very important op-ed in the New York Times appeared from Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett which eloquently described his change in opinion about the use of primates in biomedical research and the reasons for his co-sponsorship of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act. Here’s a quote from that article:

“Continuing innovations in alternatives to the use of invasive research on great apes is the civilized way forward in the 21st century. Past civilizations were measured by how they treated their elderly and disabled. I believe that we will be measured, in part, by how we treat animals, particularly great apes.”


And finally, the Washington Post tackled the story of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) meeting that convened last week as part of their investigation into the need for the continued use of chimpanzees in biomedical research. The investigation began in response to protests about moving chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) to a laboratory in Texas where they faced being put back into invasive research.

If you’ve been following this story through our blog and e-newsletters, you know that Jody’s son Levi is one of the unlucky 14 chimpanzees already transferred to Texas. Foxie’s son David, Negra’s daughter Heidi and Jody’s daughter April remain at APF, and their future is in the hands of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH commissioned the IOM to examine the scientific value of using chimpanzees in research, but, as the Washington Post article pointed out, and as we all know, the ethical questions of using great apes in invasive research cannot and should not be separated from the discussion.

For the sake of Heidi, David, April, Levi, and all chimpanzees who are currently considered merely tools and test tubes by some in the biomedical research industry, we are grateful for Jane Goodall, Laura Bonar and others at the IOM meeting who insisted that ethics be included in the discussion and ultimate decision by the NIH.


Negra's daughter Heidi


Chimps in Labs report

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

We are lucky that we are able to see and share “the other side of the story” of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees. But we never forget where they came from and we never forget about the over 1,000 chimpanzees still in biomedical research facilities.

Today, an excellent set of articles came out about the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and the issue of the Alamogordo Primate Facility chimpanzees whose fate is still uncertain after receiving a temporary reprieve from their transfer to what is now called the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Please read the series of articles in McClatchy by Chris Adams here:

If you’ve been following this story on our blog and e-newsletters (just search for “Alamogordo” in the search box to the right), you know that Jody’s son Levi was already transferred to the biomedical facility. Among the 186 chimpanzees whose fate is depending on the decision of the NIH officials examining the issue is Negra’s daughter Heidi (pictured below), Foxie’s son David, and Jody’s daughter April.


This is a crucial time for not just the Alamogordo chimpanzees, but all laboratory chimpanzees. The bill to outlaw the use of chimpanzees in invasive biomedical research in the United States was recently reintroduced as the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.

Learn more about this bill and how to help: Project R&R

For more on the Alamogordo Primate Facility chimpanzees: Retire the Chimps

Reprieve for Alamogordo Chimpanzees

Friday, December 31st, 2010

My family lives in New Mexico and my very sharp and active 89-year-old grandmother, who is a supporter of the Cle Elum Seven, sent me word of this great news this morning.

(for background information about the Alamogordo chimpanzees, visit:

Here’s the beginning of a story that the Albuquerque Journal published today:

Chimps To Stay in N.M. for a While

By Rene Romo
Copyright © 2010 Albuquerque Journal
Journal Southern Bureau

LAS CRUCES — The nearly 200 chimps housed at a federal facility in Alamogordo have won a temporary reprieve from being transferred to another site, where they were to become test subjects, according to the Governor’s Office.
In a phone call received late Thursday afternoon, an official with the National Institutes of Health informed Gov. Bill Richardson that the chimps will not be transferred until the National Academy of Sciences completes a review of policies related to the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research, according to a governor’s spokeswoman.
The review is expected to postpone the chimp transfer for about two years, said Richardson spokesman Alarie Ray-Garcia.
“Until the study is completed, there will be no transfer of the chimps,” Ray-Garcia said.

Read more:

This means that Negra’s daughter Heidi, Foxie’s son David and Jody’s daughter April will not be put back into research, at least for the time being. And it means that we still have time to let our voices be heard so that they and all of the chimpanzees can be retired permanently.

Levi and Brandon Wood’s video

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Today, Jody’s son Levi turns 27. He has been a research subject his entire life. The note in Jody’s file for this day twenty-seven years ago simply says, “Delivered healthy infant male #88 – removed & taken to nursery.” If she got a glimpse of Levi that day, it was probably the last time Jody saw her son.

Six weeks later, an adult male chimpanzee was transferred into Jody’s cage in the hopes of “breeding” her again.

Levi was among the unlucky group of chimpanzees who have already been moved from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Learn more about the transfer of the Alamogordo chimps on Animal Protection of New Mexico’s FAQ page and learn how to help here:

Also, for Jody and Levi, please support the Great Ape Protection Act, which would permanently retire all chimpanzees currently supported by the federal government and would ban the use of great apes in invasive biomedical research. Visit the HSUS TAKE ACTION link to contact your reps.

For inspiration, watch 10-year-old Brandon Wood’s video below. Brandon is one of the most active chimpanzee advocates out there. The dedication of someone so young is remarkable. You can follow Brandon through his blog, his Facebook page or on Twitter. Visit his sites and thank him for working so hard for chimpanzees.

Negra’s daughter Heidi

Friday, November 19th, 2010

New England Anti-Vivisection Society’s Project R&R has obtained a few photos through their Freedom of Information Act request.

Below is a photo of Heidi, Negra’s daughter, who is still at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (see post from earlier today)