Archive for the ‘Burrito’ Category

Peace, love and happiness!

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Foxie is known as the peacekeeper at the sanctuary. When a small conflict broke out during her birthday party last week, she rushed around to reassure everyone involved, and the party continued peacefully.

Sundays are Important

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Sundays are important for catching up on sleep, chores, and just plain old relaxation. Jamie and Burrito took full advantage of resting while the playroom was being cleaned. Napping was a good idea because today was a busy day with a summer visit and a forage on the hill.

Jamie made a huge nest with blankets and at least 4 boots:

Burrito napped on a platform and used a very comfortable blanket to rest his head:

After Jamie left, Burrito thought the sandbox looked comfortable to take a nap in:

Or play, because we all know he can’t resist a good game:

Thinking Outside the Box

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Burrito is known around here as the guy who will eat anything, but even he has days when he’s just not in the mood for something. Today during lunch he saw new potential in a piece of eggplant.

Charming, then wild, then back to charming again

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Burrito is a chimpanzee that’s packed with charisma and charm. He’s a guy that’s easy to get to know and love, whether you’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting him in person or not. He is equal parts playful friend and boisterous fight instigator. Not even five minutes after these photos were taken of him relaxing casually, he was pushing a table across the playroom causing the girls to scatter in his wake, and five minutes after his display he was playing tug-o-war with a caregiver. Creating chaos is part of daily life for a male chimpanzee and Burrito is not immune to such urges.

Impossible to imagine right?

Happy Birthday, Reilly and Eamonn!

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Today Reilly and Eamonn Coyne are turning 7 years old! Kate O’Keefe chose to celebrate her twin grandchildrens’ special day by sponsoring this day of sanctuary in their honor! Kate shared this lovely message about today:

“We are sponsoring this day in honor of our twin grandchildren, Reilly and Eamonn Coyne.They are turning 7 on July 29th! Thank you for all your wonderful work. It is a joy to see your posts of the chimps happy and thriving.”

Kate, we are so touched that you thought of the chimpanzees in celebrating Reilly and Eamonn and their birthday. It’s lovely to know your compassion and your grandchildrens’ lives are making a difference in the chimps’ lives. We are so happy to celebrate with you all today.

Happy Birthday, Reilly and Eamonn!! Here at the sanctuary we think the number 7 is a pretty big deal. These seven chimpanzees have brought more joy, love, fun, laughter and hope into all our lives and we hope your special day is full of all the same. Thank you for caring about Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra and sharing your big day with them!





Annie and Missy:


Pea tendrils

Friday, July 28th, 2017

It’s that time of year again! The snap peas were nearing the end of their season in the chimpanzees’ garden, so this morning we pulled up the vines and gave the entire plants to the chimpanzees for browse. The chimps like to suck all of the juices out of the tougher vegetation and spit out the fibrous parts. I’m expecting to find a great deal of wadged pea tendrils when we clean tomorrow.


Missy collected armloads of vines:




Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Rachel Ruggeri sponsored this day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees as a wonderful way to celebrate life! She shared this really beautiful message about today:

“This day is in honor of my 48th birthday! The sanctuary gives me hope that we can create a better world where all living creatures have some sense of freedom and happiness. And it is that hope that I look forward to with each passing year…”

Rachel, you are an amazing friend to the chimpanzees. From our hearts, thank you for all you do for them, for helping us care for them and give them lives their unique and special selves deserve, and for being part of their family. Holding your touching message in our hearts, we are all wishing you the happiest of birthdays yet and many, many more to come. Have a fantastic day!

Annie and Missy:




Jamie walking on fire hose bridge


Jody carrying cattail



Monday, July 24th, 2017

Today dawned sunny and hot from the start. But that didn’t stop Burrito from an exciting game of chase in the greenhouse to start the day off. Sometimes just the sound of our voice greeting the chimps “Good Morning” as we round the greenhouse is enough to get him to fly down the platform, play stomping his foot as he looks to us to chase him. He seems to particularly love when we stand at one end as he charges toward us, play kicks the caging and turns to run back the other way. As you can tell by all of his hair standing on end (pilo-erect) he was pretty excited about chase this morning as he charged toward me:

Ellie quickly moved to her morning shaded spot under the visitor platform as the chimps enjoyed breakfast service in the greenhouse (background):

First thing this morning, Kelsi and I trekked over to one of the ponds on the property to harvest some cattails for the chimps. We are lucky to have a wide variety of wild plants across the property that are safe for the chimps to consume that either we, or they themselves, can harvest. Cattails are a favorite and they love to eat the stalks and then savor them in wadge form throughout the day. We hid a few on Young’s Hill for some lucky foraging chimp to find at some point, but put the rest in the greenhouse. Being hot, the chimps were quick to grab up their share and find a comfortable and cool-ish spot to enjoy them. Here’s Jody:

Cattails are high on the list of favored browse for the boss lady, Jamie (and Annie enjoyed hers in the background):



Friday, July 21st, 2017

The Cle Elum Seven fight a lot. You probably don’t get that sense from reading this blog. It’s not a conscious decision of ours to downplay their aggressiveness, but I do worry sometimes that our inclination to share mostly cute, funny, and uplifting stories leads us to unintentionally misrepresent the nature of chimpanzees.


Don’t get me wrong – relative to all the other things they do, like eating, resting, playing, and so on, fighting occurs infrequently. Chimpanzees are by and large peaceful and cooperative. But for most groups, all that peace and cooperation is punctuated on a fairly regular basis by terrifying bouts of screaming, hitting, clawing, and biting.

This morning, Jamie got upset when she missed an opportunity to steal food at breakfast. Jamie has a hair trigger temper – if she thinks she wasn’t given the deference she deserves, she reacts by screaming bloody murder. Her screaming gets the whole group upset and before long Burrito begins to display. With Jamie screaming and Burrito flying around like a Tasmanian devil, it’s only a matter of time before contact is made and a fight begins – sometimes between two chimps that had nothing to do with the cause of the disorder in the first place.

Most fights end without injury. In fact, this fight at breakfast ended quickly without incident, and the chimps returned to their meal. But Jamie held a grudge. She was probably stewing inside all morning. In fact, I know she was, because she took it out on me.

Captive chimps love to redirect their aggression (one of the many unflattering traits we share). Why pick a fight with another chimp, who could bite you back, when you could direct your aggression toward a human? Caregivers are at times the chimps’ unwitting therapists, allowing them to release pent-up frustrations in a safe space. Hence the high-velocity feces that grazed my head as I let the chimps onto Young’s Hill this morning. That was just Jamie’s way of coping, as were the threat barks directed at us by Negra, Missy, and even Annie (!) throughout the morning.

But hurling feces wasn’t enough for Jamie. As we were cleaning the playroom, we saw her walk into the greenhouse with a full closed grin (a misleading term for a facial expression that includes baring both the top and bottom teeth in fear or aggression) to round up other chimps. When her backup arrived, she ran into the front rooms to confront Burrito. Burrito suddenly found himself trapped on a bench where he had been resting, surrounded by five of his family members all lunging and swinging at him. Burrito had to decide….should he fight back and risk escalating the situation while greatly outnumbered, or try to escape? He chose the latter and managed to get away with only a small bite to his foot. Jamie had made her point. He was chastened.

Fights are unsettling to the whole group because social instability is a threat to everyone. Following a fight, the chimps groom intensely to repair and restore relationships.

Burrito’s go-to grooming buddy is Foxie. Even when she is his antagonist in the fight, he still goes to her for comfort. This afternoon, they groomed on the greenhouse deck for at least 30 minutes.

Foxie & Burrito:

This kind of grooming has nothing to do with hygiene. It’s all about closeness and physical connection.


Eventually, Missy approached and Burrito turned to groom her as well.

But Foxie wasn’t done with Burrito, and she cajoled him into returning with a smile, a poke, some head nods, and a series of breathy pants.

Some scientists think that captive chimpanzees have a greater propensity to reconcile after fights than their wild counterparts do because of the nature of captivity – in captivity, you can’t run away from your problems. If someone beats you up, you are probably going to have to sit with them at lunch an hour later. So your best bet is to take out some of your frustration in whichever way floats your boat – charging through the playroom, smashing a toy into a million pieces, spitting on your caregivers, or initiating a CODE BROWN on an innocent and unsuspecting Co-Director – and with that out of the way, get to work making up with your family.



In memory of Kevin Clark

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Today was sponsored by long-time friend of the chimpanzees, Shelley Winfrey, in memory of her brother, Kevin Clark. Shelley has helped us to care for the chimps in so many ways over the years and is sharing this special day with them, sending along this note: “For my brother, who passed away…he would have loved the chimps!”

Shelley, thank you so much for being Burrito’s Pal, for all the love and support you send him and his family, and for including them as part of your family. Our thoughts are with you today and we hope your thoughts of Kevin are full of joy and comfort. We are so touched that you would share his memory with us all through adding to the lives of the chimps.

Cuties, Burrito and Jamie: