Archive for the ‘Young’s Hill’ Category

A Whole New View

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The chimpanzees didn’t have much of a view in the lab.

My, how that’s changed.

Looking Out

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

When we open the door to Young’s Hill each morning, Jody is usually the first outside. She sits for a moment at the end of the raceway looking out on the 2-acre enclosure. Maybe she’s checking that all is well, or maybe she’s making plans for the day.

Happy Summer Solstice!

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

We have a wonderful surprise day of sanctuary today sponsored by Dylan Most, who just wanted to give a little love to the chimps and celebrate the first day of summer!

Dylan, what a lovely gift! Thank you so much for thinking of the chimps and all of us here at the sanctuary. It’s hard to believe it’s summer! But the easeful, peaceful and joyful days are welcome by us all and it’s so wonderful to see the chimps relishing it all. We are grateful to your kind heart for helping to make theirs lives as beautiful as possible.

Be it your summer or winter, all of us are wishing all of you a beautiful solstice! And happy summer to all our northern hemisphere folks!








Today is in honor of Robert Ruggeri

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

It is a beautiful and peaceful day morning here at the sanctuary.  The chimps started their day, as they do most days this time of year, basking in the early morning sun coming into the greenhouse, and our neighborhood elk, Ellie, was still dozing in the shaded green grass when I arrived. Such a day couldn’t be more fitting as we celebrate a day of sanctuary sponsored in honor of Robert Ruggeri by his daughter, Rachel Ruggeri. Rachel shared this beautiful and touching message about her father:

“This day is in honor of my father, Robert Ruggeri, who would have celebrated his 81st birthday on June 6th. Though he passed away four years ago this July, his vital spirit continues to remain present in our minds and in our hearts. His love of animals was part of the fabric of his being – always with a dog by his side and happy to see all creatures enjoying their natural habit and the freedom that ensued. He would love nothing more than to see the chimps enjoying a sense of well-deserved peace and harmony among the acres of Eastern Washington, the place he himself fondly called home.”

Rachel, thank you so very much for your generous gift for the chimpanzees in memory of your father. We are honored to celebrate Robert and our hearts are with you and your family, hoping that the incredible memories you must have of him fill you with love and comfort. He sounds like such an amazing being and we’ll be holding thoughts of his special spirit here with us all.

Burrito, in all his courage, on top of the Twister:

Jamie and Foxie:

Annie (below) and Missy (top):

Annie and Missy top of Twister

Master Forager, Jody:

Jody with forage haul


Sunset over the sanctuary:

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.

Watching over her queendom

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

You’ve probably read about Negra and her desire to avoid any of the drama that may be occurring in the group. She typically observes from a distance and usually only gets involved if there is extended arguing at which point she will often give a loud, definitive pant hoot indicating that it’s time to knock it off. And it usually works.

Arguing isn’t the only drama she prefers to observe from a distance. Before dinner all the of the chimps appeared to be dozing in their nests (even the boss!) so I meandered up to close the door to Young’s Hill. All went smoothly and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I noticed Jody and Burrito sitting at the closed doorway with their hair standing on end (pilo-erect). Given that these two don’t typically get upset when the door is closed I knew it could only mean one thing; someone was still on Young’s Hill.

I scanned the hill and found Foxie and Troll sitting all by themselves at the very top of the hill on Carlene’s Tower. So of course, I apologized to everyone and immediately opened the door.  Den mother Jody immediately led the group out to collect Foxie (and probably tell her exactly what I had done). Not only did they collect her, but they ushered her all the way back inside, making sure she was inside safe and sound with her family. It was really a touching thing to witness.

Meanwhile, as all this excitement was going on out on Young’s Hill, Negra was quietly supervising from the top of the greenhouse, under the comfort of her rainbow blanket:

Foxie safely escorted back into the greenhouse with the rest of the chimps behind her, all was well again as  indicated by Negra’s drooped lip:

And for anyone who may be worried, we always require two people to count the chimps once Young’s Hill has been closed for the evening just to ensure no one could possibly get locked out overnight. 🙂

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.

Dining al fresco

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

It was so beautiful today I almost hyperventilated. That said, it was by far the hottest day we’ve had this year with a sudden temperature rise to the upper 80’s so the chimps and the humans are still adjusting and taking things slow and easy. Well, the chimps are anyway!

Keri and I thought it would be a great day for a lunch forage on Young’s Hill. The chimps have continued to enjoy the current local bounty of lilacs so we’ve been adding those to forages as well. (Foxie has decided this year that she LOVES them!! She wants absolutely nothing to do with the leave or stems, but happily munches the flowers).

At first everyone was a little reluctant to run out into the sun, but once they realized lunch al fresco was awaiting them, they all ran out together. Burrito, Foxie (that foot!) and Annie:

Annie foraging bipedally and Negra in the foreground:


Foxie (with Dora in her mouth):





Sometimes life is astoundingly beautiful.

Simple pleasures

Friday, May 19th, 2017

The other night I watched Negra eat dandelions as the sun began to set over Young’s Hill. I wish it could be spring forever.

Coming in for a landing

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

More evidence that Missy may actually have built in springs in her knees.