Archive for the ‘Caregivers’ Category

Jamie and Her Squad

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jamie wrangled up some of her favorite human and non-human friends for a walk around Young’s Hill. Missy followed right behind Jamie while Foxie came for a hot minute and turned back. Jody had plans of her own today. While we all walked, Jody foraged for some plants. Check it out!

Jamie’s squad:

Jody enjoying her forage while Burrito fixes his hair:





Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Hi Everyone!

My name is Kelsi and about two weeks ago I started as the new part-time caregiver at CSNW. I am originally from Washington State and went to college at Central Washington University in Ellensburg where I majored in Primate Behavior & Ecology and Psychology. I was a caregiver at the Fauna Foundation in Quebec, Canada for about two years and just recently returned back to the United States! As a new staff member at CSNW, I am just now starting to learn how to work with the sanctuary’s camera. Today was my first trial run taking photos of the Cle Elum 7, so please  continue to follow me on my journey and see my photography improve over time!

Annie in a deep gaze:

Foxie playing with a Dora doll:

Burrito just about to start a game of chase:


Jamie nesting on a barrel with her boot:

Missy checking out the garden:

A selection

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Each day, caregivers put out carefully selected enrichment items into the enclosures for the chimpanzees to enjoy. Objects like clothing, crayons, magazines, paper, and kids toys are placed around to try and peak the chimps’ interests (or sometimes to just give them something to throw). There are two types of enrichment items that are an absolute requirement for each enclosure: Foxie’s dolls and Jamie’s boots. No area at the sanctuary is fully enriched without at least one cowboy boot and a Dora or troll doll.

A new friend for the chimps!

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Last week we welcomed our new part-time staff caregiver Kelsi to the sanctuary! She has been busy learning the daily routine around here and is now getting to know the chimps!

This afternoon Burrito was more than happy to demonstrate proper chase protocol for her:

And how to give a good (and safe) back rub:

And boss Jamie taught Kelsi how to model new cowboy boots for her. Note that Jamie is sitting comfortably in the shade, while Kelsi knows her place in the direct sun:

Keep an eye out in the next couple weeks for Kelsi’s own blog posts as she starts writing about her adventures in care giving at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest!


Sunday, June 18th, 2017

The majority of our chimp house volunteers have no direct interaction with the chimpanzees. The caregivers you see on our blog playing with the chimps or serving them meals are either staff or specially trained, long-term volunteers. Volunteers are typically with us for at least a year before they are eligible for this training. The training process lasts several months, and volunteers are required to commit to at least another year as volunteers after that.

These volunteers learn not only how to safely interact with the chimpanzees, but how to be good chimp friends. They learn chimp behavior and etiquette so that they can communicate with the chimps in their own language and integrate seamlessly into the social group. They become important and stable parts of the chimps’ circle of friends.

Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Caregivers are the heart and soul of every animal sanctuary. To recognize their vital contribution to the well being of thousands of rescued animals around the world, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance has teamed up with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries to create a day in their honor. Today, we are proud to celebrate the first annual Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day!

Here at CSNW, it’s impossible to overstate the love, dedication, and commitment that our caregivers demonstrate every day. Every moment of playfulness we share on this blog, every picture of contentment you see, is the product of thousands of hours of hard work by CSNW’s caregiver crew.

The staff and volunteer caregivers clean for five hours a day, seven days a week. It is a never-ending job.

They prepare the chimps’ many meals, forages, and food puzzles each day.

They invest countless hours in training so that they can help serve those meals safely.

They wash and fold 70 or more blankets a day so the chimps can build fresh, clean nests.

They plant gardens and tend to them throughout the summer so that they chimps will have the freshest produce possible.

They throw parties for the chimps to keep life exciting and interesting.

They spend countless hours building trust and developing friendships.

They tend to wounds and ensure that medications are administered daily.

They engage in hundreds of hours of positive reinforcement training so that the chimps learn to cooperate with physical exams.

They walk for miles around Young’s Hill in the blazing sun and the pouring rain to keep Jamie and her friends company.

They work weekends and holidays because the chimps never take a day off from needing our care. And when Jamie insists on staying out all night and walking in the moonlight, they are there too – even when they might rather be home in bed.

Caring for chimpanzees is hard work. It’s physically demanding and, at times, emotionally draining. But it can also be unbelievably rewarding. We are lucky to be surrounded and supported by people who find fulfillment in working hard for the benefit of others; people who measure success by the amount of good they can do for the animals who so desperately need our help.

To Elizabeth, Katelyn, and Anna, who dedicate their lives to the Cle Elum Seven, to the dozens of selfless volunteers and interns who give up their free time to serve these deserving chimpanzees, and to sanctuary caregivers around the world: Thank you for all you do and Happy Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day!




Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Considering one human is responsible for keeping seven hungry chimps happy at meals, most of them go remarkably smoothly.

All day forage

Monday, June 5th, 2017

The chimps have had an exciting day of forages! Breakfast in the sunlit greenhouse, lunch on the stunningly lush Young’s Hill, and dinner in the playroom.

In the wild chimpanzees spend the majority of their days traveling and looking for food. Here at CSNW we serve most of the chimps’ meals by hand to make sure that everyone gets their fair amount and it also gives us the opportunity to check out any wounds and see how everyone is doing. That said, we take every opportunity to present the chimps with choices and activities that encourage their natural behavior. Forages are a great way to get them active and engaged and I imagine they often appreciate the opportunity to do as they please and not wait around for the humans to serve them their portions.

A beautiful lunch forage with Foxie and Dora:

Missy in the treat rock:

Burrito in the hammock! (Annie to the right):

Annie standing, Burrito to the right:

Annie checking out the tire swing for sweet potatoes, Burrito foraging in the grass:

Sweet Annie:

Missy had to stop several times to keep putting food back in her mouth and picking up pieces she’d dropped. She was not going to leave one piece behind!

Whew! She made it back to the greenhouse with her corn stash!


Beautiful Jody:

After lunch Jamie asked me to put on her boots and sit with her near the open panels of the greenhouse that face Young’s Hill so she could groom the boots. She eventually made a nest and decided to lie down next to me and enjoy the cool breeze. So I decided I should also have a nest and got a blanket to lie on next to her, a safe distance from chimps and caging. Before I knew it Burrito came over and sprawled out in the corner next to us, and Annie and Foxie curled up on the top platform facing the hill and we all just enjoyed a few moments of rest together on a peaceful spring day. Some of us (chimps) got to rest longer than others (me), but it was lovely while it lasted. 🙂 Sanctuary for us all.

Keeping cool

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Today has been all about enjoying the brilliantly sunny day while doing our best to keep cool. We’ve reached that wonderful time of year when we begin to remove the panels on the greenhouse and the chimps enjoy breakfast in the open air with a view of the hill. Volunteer caregiver Lizz made an extremely popular smoothie this morning (pineapple, banana and lime) and served apples and watermelon so the chimps were beside themselves.

Annie emptying her cup and Jody on the left licking up a drop from the caging:

Everyone was so happy this morning that even Negra couldn’t contain herself and initiated a wrestling game with Missy in the middle of breakfast (you can see a glimpse of Missy’s big play face!):

Foxie and Jody anxious for Lizz to pass out watermelon:

Foxie rubbing her toes in happiness:

After breakfast the chimps all headed out onto the hill with almost everyone heading to the top. Annie chose to go on her own exploration, as she often does:

Annie is her own woman. She has so many endearing habits – walking bipedally around Young’s Hill more often than not, making her Annie-bird noises by whistling through her hands when she’s particularly content, and lying on her back and blowing water out of her mouth to wash her face. With the temperatures hovering around 90, she has taken to doing this as a way cool off as well:

The chimps have been enjoying lots of frozen and watery treats today to stay hydrated and we even broke out the snow cone machine.

My favorite mountain lupines are finally blooming around Young’s Hill and there is an entire field that reaches inside and outside the perimeter of the chimps’ outdoor habitat. Walking through that area is my favorite part of the walks with Jamie this time of year. Sometimes the amazing scent wafts through the greenhouse:

For the first time I noticed several Melissa Blues, a small violet-blue butterfly I have typically only seen at higher elevations around the mountain lakes and rivers. There were so many floating around the lupine today it looked as if the flowers were taking flight:

It’s such a beautiful time at the sanctuary. Be it butterflies, flowers, beautiful days, exciting fresh food, or big-hearted humans, I’m so grateful for all the beauty, in all it’s varied forms, that surrounds the chimps every day.

Thank you, Keri!

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

We’re sad to announce that caregiver and master-of-all-things-enrichment, Keri Heniff, is stepping down from her role as a part-time staff member at CSNW. The good news, however, is that she’s not really going anywhere – Keri will continue to make the long drive from Leavenworth to care for the Cle Elum Seven as a volunteer. We’ll just see her a little less often.

Keri has been a true friend to the chimps and an indispensable member of the team here at CSNW. So even though we’re not really losing her, I hope you’ll join me in taking this moment to thank her for her hard work, her dedication, and her devotion to the chimps.

And by the way, Keri, Jamie has made it clear that the boots will fit the same whether you are a staff member or a volunteer and she expects the same number of walks when you are here.

We’re looking forward to introducing you to CSNW’s newest staff member, Kelsi, in June when she completes her cross-continental journey from Quebec.