Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

The chimpanzees know that any good party is really about the food. In celebration of today’s holiday, we had a lunch party in the greenhouse and the chimps feasted on Field Roast (a really delicious vegetarian “meat” made from grains and veggies), corn, watermelon, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, and sparkling apple cider.








Different Strokes

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

The chimpanzees eat mostly fresh fruits and veggies at the sanctuary. For the most part, they like what we like, but they do have a higher tolerance for certain flavors.

Missy winning lunch

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

If today’s lunch forage were a contest, Missy definitely took first prize!

Missy putting food in mouth

Missy gathering food

Missy carrying food to greenhouse



Thursday, June 8th, 2017

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


Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Served lunches at the sanctuary are generally quiet affairs, with each chimpanzee waiting somewhat patiently to collect their proper portions of fresh vegetables and primate chow. Every now and then though, we have someone that gets it in their minds that they want to steal more lunch. Usually that someone is Jamie or Jody, and sometimes Negra (who seems to steal mostly from Missy). While caregivers can’t really stop this behavior from happening, we can ask the chimpanzee that is collecting their lunch to move away from the thief for a better chance of getting their portion.

Here JB asks Burrito to shift a little ways away from Jody (below him), who is eying his portion of primate chow.

This technique doesn’t always work though. Jody was particularly persistent this afternoon and she knows that agreeable Foxie will usually give up some of her lunch without a fuss.

This kind of behavior is normal in chimpanzee group dynamics. Higher ranking chimpanzees can assert themselves over less dominant individuals with concern to food, grooming, enrichment, etc. As caregivers, it is our job to respect the hierarchy, while making sure there is plenty to go around for everyone.

I think this is just a photo of Jody mid-blink, but I’m pretty sure she enjoyed her spoils.

Fine Dining

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

There’s nothing quite like savoring a raw onion on a spring afternoon with the birds chirping in the background.

For Jody and all the mamas

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

The weekend of celebrations continues in the chimp house today as we celebrate not only Mother’s Day, but beloved Jody, on her 42nd honorary birthday!

I was in my gracious neighbor’s magical backyard bright and early this morning, heisting two armfuls of lilacs. Many of the chimps enjoy smelling and eating them and even now, late in the day, the scent of fresh lilac occasionally is wafts through their home.

We started the celebration off with a beautiful breakfast forage of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, watermelon, and baby bananas on a bed of lettuce, strawberry and banana smoothie, and more sparkling cider.

The greenhouse was bright and sunny as we set up the party. Pineapple tops are a favorite of the birthday girl so we hoped Jody would find this pokey treat:

And she did:

Nothing says party like shoving an entire pokey pineapple top in your mouth:

Dora had a gift for someone:

Foxie gazing at Dora while enjoying her fresh lilacs and melting my heart into a big ol’ puddle:

Annie enjoying a party plate:

For Jamie, parties are even (or maybe I should say especially) serious business. She was methodically looking for her favorites and keeping a watchful eye on the three pinatas hanging from the ceiling until she could get to them. Jamie loves a challenge so this was her kind of party:

The lilacs are quite popular with a few of the girls and Annie was doing her best to collect some on the sly while avoiding the eyes of the more dominant Missy and Jamie and she collected quite a few:

Gorgeous Missy enjoying a treat box:

Burrito was a wild man all morning long. Riling up the girls, rattling the caging, displaying throughout the chimp house. Pretty much normal stuff, but with an extra dash of wild today. But he did find time to settle down and enjoy the company of his friends on their special day and even went to Annie’s defense to reassure her when she got yelled at for picking the “wrong” lilac:

Burrito and Foxie:

And then there’s Negra, who ended the celebration by collecting all the lilacs she could and winding up with a beautiful bouquet:

Mother’s Day is a special day at the sanctuary. If you’re new to the blog and just learning about the chimps, we only know that Jody was most likely born in the wild sometime in 1975. We chose this day to celebrate Jody in honor of the nine infants she gave birth to, but who were stolen from her during her time in biomedical research. With the exception of Jamie and Burrito, all of the chimps residing here had children and were denied the right to raise them. So today, with full hearts, we honor each of the chimps, their loss of their own mothers, and their children who lost the opportunity to grow up with their amazing mothers. You can learn more about each of their stories here.

Mother’s Day can feel like a bittersweet celebration here at times. But what I am finding is that with each passing year, as we’re astounded and privileged to witness the strength, healing and resiliency of these amazing beings, the pain of knowing the horror they endured for so long starts to fade into the shadows, eclipsed by the incredible light of each of these special souls. While we will always honor all they’ve been through, it’s really become about celebrating all they’ve overcome as unique individuals, the hope and joy they embrace each day with, and the family you’ve made possible for them to have. I hope with all my heart that they feel the same.

Happy Birthday, beautiful Jody!! We love you so very much!! And Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! And I really think that’s all of us in some shape or form. 🙂


Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Listening to Burrito food squeak never gets old.

8th Annual Love a Chimpanzee Day

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

We love made-up holidays around here (holiday = party for the chimps). For the last 8 years, the chimps’ good friend Monica Best has sponsored April 23rd as Love a Chimpanzee Day. (It also happens to be Monica’s birthday!) Unless you’ve followed our blog for awhile, you probably haven’t heard of Love a Chimpanzee Day; that’s because it didn’t exist until Monica dreamed it up.

To celebrate CSNW’s 8th Annual Love a Chimpanzee Day, we decided to throw a luau party, because there’s never a bad time to throw a luau party for chimps you love. The chimps enjoyed a feast of bananas, oranges, fruit smoothie, and pineapple coconut water for breakfast in the greenhouse.



(Burrito was especially happy to see former volunteer caregiver Stephanie, who stopped by for a visit!)





(Annie really had lounging down to an art today…)

Thanks as always to Monica for conceiving of and sponsoring this delightful holiday (and happy birthday)!