Archive for the ‘Caregivers’ Category

On Duty

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Boss Jamie has a long list of (mostly) self-imposed duties, including (but not limited to) monitoring the whereabouts and activity of all living beings on her domain. No matter where she is, she always knows where you are.

She’s also responsible for ensuring strict compliance with all rules and protocols. She oversees all volunteer training. This afternoon she showed Level III trainee Caroline how we groom.

Constant vigilance can be tiring, so she allows herself short breaks before resuming her work.


Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

We continue to be amazed by this spring-like winter we’re having in Cle Elum. Today’s sun has made the greenhouse nice and toasty for the chimpanzees. Volunteer caregiver Jake found the chimps in a grooming huddle up on the platform when he brought lunch out this afternoon, but they were happy to take a break to eat.

Blowing off steam

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

It’s been a bit snowy outside today, but the stormy weather just means it’s time for a little indoor exercise!

Whatever the Boss Says

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Volunteer caregiver Becca swung by the sanctuary today to drop off some produce for the chimpanzees. It was supposed to be a quick visit but as soon as Jamie spotted her, she recruited her for a couple of runs (runs!) around Young’s Hill. After the perimeter runs, a grooming session in the greenhouse was in order. Jamie eventually requested that Becca hand over the boot she was wearing, so she had to hobble back to the chimp house on one foot. We’ve learned to submit to Jamie’s rule and not complain too much.

Jamie and the snowshoes

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Well folks, today has been one of those days where capturing photos of the chimps has just not been on their agenda. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t stories to tell.

The chimps have a bare path around snowy and slushy Young’s Hill, courtesy of J.B., and most everyone has been venturing out for walks in our “milder” weather (i.e., above freezing for the most part). But much to our surprise, it’s Jamie who hasn’t been interested in going all the way around the hill. (Missy on the other hand, has been ripping and running around and around!). The last couple of days Jamie seems to have incorporated the lower half of the hill into her games of chase with her caregivers, venturing half way up one side only to turn, run back down and then part way up the other side, back and forth like a pendulum.

Given how excited Jamie’s been over the winter footwear and seeing what the humans’ Yaktrax look like on her own boots, I decided to take it to the next level and see what she would think of seeing her boots in snowshoes, which we don’t think she’s seen before. Here is Jamie’s favorite new boot getting strapped in as she watches:

Suffice to say, Jamie was beside herself! Hair standing on end (polo-erect), eyes glued to her boots, hooting and low moaning and generally flailing about in excitement. Of course she immediately raced outside to play chase up and down the small slope seemingly mesmerized that HER boots were snowshoeing. Kelsi and I tried and tried to get photos of her, but I think she was so overwhelmed she didn’t have time to participate in a photo shoot. So outside of this photo of Jamie flailing (I recognize it’s hard to see, but she is waving her arms and hands about as she looks at her boot), you’ll have to take our word for it:

Jamie immediately ran outside making sure I was following and after about an hour of chase inside, outside, through the greenhouse, up the hill, down the hill (with frequent stops to check out her boot), she decided she was ready to have her snow covered boots (sans snowshoes, of course). As soon as she received them she hugged them to her for a moment, looked at them as if they (and perhaps by extension, she?) had just been on the most amazing adventure ever, and then hurried off to build a nest with them.

For years it was very uncommon to see Jamie actually sleep when she nested. Some part of her always remained on alert and if the rare occasion occurred where her eyes closed, it didn’t take much for them to spring back open. Only in the last year or two has she begun to fully relax enough to fall asleep. So to see her covered up with her blankets, surrounded by her beloved boots and favorite new boot book, sound asleep holds so much more meaning than just how cozy and adorable she looks like this. Even if brief (she’s a busy woman after all), she finally feels safe enough to fully let go and fall into a deep slumber. Perhaps dreaming of snowshoeing her way around Young’s Hill…

Not Your Typical Day

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

Today was not our typical lazy Sunday at CSNW. After the chimps received access to the Hill everyone was out with Jamie, well everyone except Negra… Foxie was especially gleeful this morning. Foxie invited staff Caregiver Katelyn for a fun game of flip and hang upside down while tickling her with her doll, which I mean who could say no to that! Foxie is always playful and has the craziest moves, but today she put it all out on the dance floor. Check out the video to see Foxie’s moves.

Bonus photos of Foxie on Young’s Hill yesterday (photo credit to Diana, they were just to good to not share):

Fashion Show

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Jamie loves to watch her caregivers model boots for her. Sometimes this process lasts ten or fifteen minutes. Jamie is by no means a passive audience – she lets us know which boot she wants us to put on which foot, and she makes sure we keep the fashion show moving at a steady clip.

Rain or Shine

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Nothing stops Jamie from doing what she loves. Though the weather could have been better today… Jamie kept a good attitude and didn’t let a little rain stop her! Jamie encouraged the care staff and volunteers to join her; as for the chimps, only one chimp endured the outdoors with Jamie and that was Burrito. However, he did not join again after the first time…

Jamie doing a perimeter check in the rain:

Jamie at the last leg of the walk getting ready to start running:

Meanwhile, the chimps inside napped or quietly played. The chimps were hard to find today so I tried to capture what I could without disturbing their peaceful day!

Burrito playing by himself:

Negra getting cozy:

Building Trust

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Out of all the humans who work and volunteer at the sanctuary, only a handful have any sort of physical contact with the chimpanzees. Those who do must go through months of safety training first. Chimpanzees are incredibly strong and unpredictable, so we take these safety rules very seriously. Even the chimps’ wonderful local vet, Dr. Erin Zamzow, never touches the chimps unless they are sedated for a medical procedure. (Did I mention that we take our safety rules seriously?)

Dr. Erin has been assisting the sanctuary for years, and has been an integral part of several procedures, but still the chimps primarily know her as the doctor who comes around when something scary happens. So in an effort to demystify her a little, she’s been spending more time at the sanctuary – we want her to be a familiar, non-threatening presence in the chimps’ lives. She is currently going through caregiver training; when she’s done, she’ll be able to serve meals to the chimps, play chase and tug of war, groom, and give back rubs. She’ll be a trusted friend.