Archive for the ‘Young’s Hill’ Category

What’s in a Kiss?

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

You may have seen the video we posted the other day of Foxie giving kisses to some of the other chimpanzees to reassure them after a brief conflict broke out during her birthday party.

If you’re a chimp, a kiss can say a few different things: “Everything’s okay. Please calm down.” Or “I’m feeling a little nervous.” Or “Isn’t this exciting?!”

Today we set out a lunch forage on Young’s Hill. Jody and Missy both have the same foraging strategy. They make one big sweep of the area, gather as much food as they can carry, and then head back into the greenhouse to sit down and enjoy it. Missy was on her way to the greenhouse, trying not to spill any of her spoils, when Jody met up with her, also heading to the greenhouse. They stopped briefly for a kiss and breathy pant, which in this case was part: “This is great! I can’t wait to eat this food!” and part: “I have food. You have food. Everything’s okay.”

Thus reassured, they completed the trek to the greenhouse where they ate in peace.

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:

Missy the Gymnast

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Today is all about Missy.  Missy is known for her acrobatic skills and living life to the very fullest!  For lunch we had a forage on Young’s Hill.  Missy found a hot route by walking on the fire hose and then flipping off to get some corn and sweet potatoes.

Missy walking on the fire hose:

Missy flipping off the hose:

And Missy sticks the landing!

After, Missy got a good stash and started heading in:



Highly prized

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

There are a few foods that a lot of caregivers mildly dread serving to the chimpanzees. One of these foods is corn on the cob. Corn is a hot commodity for the chimps and with its distinguished deliciousness, comes a wave of competitive desire from a few of the dominant individuals (namely Jamie and Jody) to try and steal as many pieces of corn as possible from the other chimps. This as you might imagine, is not seen as a popular tactic and can cause chaos and screams to ring through the sanctuary. We rarely serve whole pieces of corn any more because it causes so much drama, and instead will break the cobs in half, or cut them into many tiny pieces for play room forages. Today however, we decided to spread whole corn far and wide out on Young’s Hill. There is something about having all that extra space for foraging out on the hill that the chimps seem genuinely satisfied and lose a little bit of that competitive tension.

Of course there are some chimps that are a bit more successful…

Negra seemed so pleased with her one large corn that she headed right back inside with it to enjoy:

Burrito needed a lot of reassurance from Foxie because he was so thrilled (note how “fluffy” he looks with his hair standing on end). Foxie was perfectly happy to pick up a bunch of primate chow that we also scattered with the corn.

Jamie and Missy were moving and eating quickly, but I promise they got lots of lunch too!

Annie ate all of her corn while she was outside:

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:




The Guardian

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Jody has become more and more invested in her chimpanzee family over the years. When the chimps first arrived at the sanctuary nine years ago, Jody kept to herself much of the time. I’m sure she appreciated living with other chimps, but she didn’t seem to feel the need to socialize with them much.

Over the last several years, though, Jody has stepped up as the mom of the group. When we open the door to Young’s Hill (the chimps’ two-acre outdoor habitat) each morning, Jody is the first out the door. She sits just at the end of the raceway and spends a moment visually scanning the hill, presumably checking for any dangers that might have appeared overnight. If one of the other chimps gets a little too adventurous out there, Jody is the first to show her concern by rushing up to them, hair standing on end, and monitoring their activity or trying to usher them back to the safety of the building.

Jody loves to forage for wild plants on Young’s Hill. She will gather as much as she can in her mouth and arms, and then hobble back down the hill toward the greenhouse, where she lies down to munch on her bounty and keep an eye on the hill in case she’s needed out there.

Sanctuary, seven ways

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Sanctuary means different things for the seven chimpanzee individuals that live in Cle Elum, Washington.

Negra’s sanctuary lies in the solitude and comfort of a giant nest:

And sometimes the chance to peacefully pick wild greens on Young’s Hill

Jody finds sanctuary in the company of others:

as well in moments of quiet:

and bounty:

If Annie had to spell sanctuary, she would spell it M-I-S-S-Y:

Missy’s sanctuary is all about movement!

Jamie’s sanctuary is filled with cowboy boots:

And boot related activities:

Burrito’s sanctuary needs to be delicious:

and fun!

Foxie’s sanctuary wouldn’t be complete without dolls:

and friends!

and friends that steal said dolls and play keep-away!

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:




Sundays Are For The Girls

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Today is a mild 85º. The perfect day for a forage and napping!


Negra enjoying a forage on the hill today:

Jamie nesting with one of her favorite boots:

Annie in the greenhouse enjoying the weather:

Morning Exploration

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

On these summer mornings, when there’s still a slight coolness to the air and the sun is low in the sky, the chimpanzees often explore the outdoor habitat. They head out on their own, in pairs, or sometimes as a group, generally splitting off to do some private exploration. They go to the top of the towers to see if the landscape has changed, and they pick edible plants for an after-breakfast snack.

We don’t often get photos of this morning exploration because the humans are busy starting the cleaning for the day.

Today, however, we have a full house of volunteers! I took advantage of the help and went to the top of the observation tower to take a few photos while Deb, Lynn, Rachel, and Dusty scrubbed and disinfected the playroom.

I had to use the telephoto lens to identify the tiny specs of chimps in the distance and even that lens wasn’t able to zoom in very close with the chimps at the very top of the two-acre enclosure. They would sometimes disappear completely, hidden by the tall summer grass. I love watching them out on their own with no concern for the human activity in the building, just soaking in the day.


Missy and Annie:

missy and annie on tower

missy and annie on bridge



missy holding structure

missy on mound


Missy and Annie heading back to the greenhouse:

missy and annie coming back to greenhouse


Jody foraging for prickly lettuce:

jody foraging

jody with weeds


Jamie doing her own thing:

jamie tightrope walking