Even brisker mornings

December 4th, 2017 by Katelyn

We have a stunning week of sun ahead of us in the forecast and even though the temperatures are progressively colder, the bright sun is filling everyone with adventurous spirits and joyful days. As Kelsi shared in her blog yesterday, even the Queen has been braving the chill to enjoy time outside.

Despite that, when I opened the door to Young’s Hill first thing this morning I couldn’t have been more surprised to see everyone literally racing outside seemingly on a group mission. Foxie and her doll headed straight for the nearest platforms where she proceeded to play stomp and shiver her way around with a mischievous look on her face.

Here she is mid-stomp:

Jody, Annie and Burrito wasted no time heading straight for the tire swings and it didn’t take long to realize they were remembering that the cold weather brings ice treats to be found in the tire swings! I love that they remember favorite things from each season now.


Burrito found some ice pieces Annie and Jody missed:

Annie and Jody heading back toward the greenhouse with their ice chunks (Missy foreground):

Annie headed to the greenhouse:

Jamie on her way back from the business of the morning:

Annie returned to the outdoors seemingly to just enjoy the view and the feel the elements:

After Jody came inside with her ice she immediately realized that Foxie was still outside in the cold and charged back up the hill to collect her. Foxie is an adventurous soul and declined Jody’s encouragement to return to the greenhouse (much to Jody’s dismay) and continued on her way checking things out, but she eventually made her way back:

It makes my heart sing to see how the chimps embrace their days and everything they discover within each one, how adventurous and brave they’ve become, and how, well, themselves they’ve become. Winter, spring, summer and fall, they show us a new season of themselves.

Brisk Mornings

December 3rd, 2017 by Kelsi

Today was a beautiful brisk December morning, Jamie and I were on our usual perimeter walk. At the end of our walk I noticed Missy and Negra enjoying the warm sunshine beaming on Young’s Hill. Negra sat on a log watching Missy eat the little bit of snow left on the log, Negra then also took part in eating some snow! The Hill was pretty popular today even with the chill this morning, everyone made an appearance at one point. A little later, after I went back to the Playroom to help clean, I spotted Annie playing with the new mirror in the Greenhouse. Annie was being silly and flipping upside down and inspecting all the windows. Missy revealed herself from the cargo net near Annie, which made sense, Annie was trying to get Missy to play! It worked, they quietly played in the cargo net and I sneaked away so they could play in peace.


Missy eating snow:

Negra on the log & Missy eating snow:


Negra enjoying some snow:

Annie looking into the mirror:


Annie checking the window frames:

Missy taking a turn playing with the mirror (can you see her toes?):


The Other 5% of the Time

December 2nd, 2017 by Diana

Are the chimpanzees at the sanctuary peaceful and quiet all of the time? This video starts to answer that question.



Safe and sound

December 1st, 2017 by J.B.

We give out over 70 fleece blankets each day so that the chimps can sleep in clean, comfortable nests. Night nests are usually built up off the ground on the catwalks in the playroom or on benches in the smaller front rooms. Sometimes the chimps sleep near each other, other times they seek privacy.

Annie often gathers blankets from the playroom and front rooms to build her nest on a front room bench. Its takes a lot of work to get the nest just right.

Building Trust

November 30th, 2017 by Elizabeth

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.

Busy mornings

November 29th, 2017 by Anna

The majority of the action at the sanctuary happens all before lunch! We use this time every day to clean each area thoroughly, asking the chimpanzees to shift from one section of the building to another. Once the chimpanzees have all vacated an area (usually convinced by the prospect of breakfast or snacks), the lead staff member of the day closes all the chimpanzee doors leading to an area using a remote controlled lever and lock system. We follow this by performing safety double checks to ensure that an area is chimp-free and doors are properly closed and locked. Only then can we enter an area for cleaning.

We started today by serving the chimpanzees some smoothie and peanuts so we could get the greenhouse area closed off for cleaning. Intern Kailie is training to be a level 3 caregiver (someone that serves meals and can interact safely with the chimpanzees). Staff member Elizabeth was training her this morning.

Once we knew we could safely enter the greenhouse, we unlocked the area and got to work!

We always switch out dirty blankets and enrichment for clean items.

And we do any necessary scrubbing!

Jamie usually acts as supervisor through one of the windows:

We put out 70 fresh blankets a day, so that means we do laundry all day long! Here’s intern Samantha keeping our washer going:

After the greenhouse cleaning comes the rest of breakfast. Today it was apples, pineapple, primate chow, and vitamins:

The lead staff member does a series of safety checks before the chimpanzees can get access to Young’s Hill in the morning. Here is Burrito entering the raceway to the outdoor enclosure first thing this morning:

Then on to cleaning the playroom! We always appreciate happy interns like Amanda!

After the playroom is scrubbed, rinsed, squeegeed, and locked, the lead staff member lets the chimpanzees have access back to their fresh clean area. This morning the chimps enjoyed a forage of nuts. Missy found the pineapple top we also put out.

Then comes more safety checks to enter the front rooms. Here Kailie checks to make sure a door lever is closed and locked:

It was about this time that Jamie decided she was ready for her first walk around Young’s Hill. She had me put on these ankle boots today:

Then we set out for a walk accompanied by Missy:

Meanwhile, our hardworking interns finished cleaning the front rooms. Locking and double checking all the doors is the last step in the process:

We are so lucky to have such amazing volunteers and interns! We couldn’t do it without them or our amazing supporters! Yesterday was Giving Tuesday and we exceeded both our goals for the day! There is just so much love and support that surrounds these seven chimpanzees!

The Seven Reasons Why

November 28th, 2017 by Diana

The love of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest donors never ceases to amaze me.

You all exceeded the $15,000 goal for Giving Tuesday, and there are still several hours left in the day, so I’ve bumped up the goal to $20,000!

I know why you’re so generous. It’s the same seven reasons that motivate me.


burrito sitting



annie in yoga pose



Jody in fall grass



Negra eating pomegranate



foxie biting dora








and their lives at the sanctuary:


Annie Giving Tuesday



Seventh Day of Thanks, Featuring EVERYONE and Jamie

November 27th, 2017 by Diana

Today is the seventh day of thanks highlighting seven different donors and their seven ways of donating + the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary!

For a recap of the first five posts, day one featured legacy donor Bruce Davidson + Burrito, day two featured event donor Kathy Cochran + Annie, day three featured recurring donor Julie Olson + Jody, day four featured challenge and competition donor Monica Best + Negra, day five featured wish list donor Vicki Fagerlee + Foxie, and day six featured major donor Karen Emmerman Mazner + Missy.

Today I’m featuring stock donor Joan Z., but I have a difficult time thinking about all of the donors that were not featured this week, so really today is featuring everyone.

Joan recently offerred to put up a matching challenge for Giving Tuesday by way of transferring stocks to the sanctuary, and I’m going to talk more about that generous challenge tomorrow.

Really quickly, though, I want to be sure that everyone knows that transferring stocks to the sanctuary is super easy. All the information you need is on the donate page, and you can just send us a quick email or give us a call to let us know when you are making the transfer.

There are potential financial benefits to you for transferring stocks rather than cashing them in (if you’ve held them a year or more). Talk to your broker about the details, but, in a nutshell, you can avoid capital gains tax by transferring stocks to nonprofits rather than cashing in the stocks, so you’re able to potentially give more to the sanctuary. Pretty cool if you’re in the position to be thinking about these things! Our current policy is to cash in the stocks when we receive them, so we get the donation within days. Big thanks to Joan and everyone who has donated securities!

I have barely scratched the surface of all of the ways that people give to the sanctuary! I could have profiled hundreds of people. I think that’s the beauty of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest – each person finds their own way to support the chimpanzees and it takes everyone to give the chimpanzees the sanctuary home that they deserve.

Some people give their time by volunteering in the chimp house, as board members, or as event volunteers. Shawn, for example, is our first maintenance volunteer. He comes out on weekends and helps J.B. with all kinds of maintenance projects in the chimp house and around the property.

Others donate their professional services. Lori and Kathleen, who both live many states away, donate their graphic design services to create beautiful and compelling graphics for campaigns and events.

Some donors have arranged fundraising events on their own or asked their friends and family to donate to the sanctuary rather than give gifts for birthdays, weddings, and holidays.

There are a lot of ways to give! And most of you choose to give in several different ways. It’s a beautiful thing. Donors are the heart of what makes this sanctuary possible.

Jamie, the boss, can be hard to please, but I believe she would give a head nod of approval if she understood all of the ways that supporters contribute to her health and happiness and the long-term stability of the sanctuary. She plans to be around for many more years and demands that each day be a full one – as it should be.

jamie with boots

jamie with barrel

Jamie on fire hose


jamie inspecting trees

Jamie on twister

jamie givingtuesday


Sixth Day of Thanks, Featuring Karen & Missy

November 26th, 2017 by Diana

Today is the sixth day of thanks highlighting seven different donors and their seven ways of donating + the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary!

Today I give thanks to major donor Karen Emmerman Mazner and I share some photos of the always busy Missy.

For a recap of the first five posts, day one featured legacy donor Bruce Davidson + Burrito, day two featured event donor Kathy Cochran + Annie, day three featured recurring donor Julie Olson + Jody, day four featured challenge and competition donor Monica Best + Negra, and yesterday, day five, featured wish list donor Vicki Fagerlee + Foxie.

We were thrilled to have Karen as our honoree at this year’s HOOT! gala, and she gave the best speech that explained why she decided to give a large contribution towards the Bring Them Home Campaign for Expansion. Here’s just a bit of what she said (it still gives me goosebumps):

If you’re a person who, like me, tears up when watching the videos of Foxie with her Troll dolls, Burrito being goofy, and Jamie bossing everyone around and you want more Foxies, Burritos, and Jamies to live out their lives with Troll dolls, goofiness, and bossing humans around then please join me in supporting CSNW’s efforts to bring more chimpanzees home to sanctuary.

I want more chimpanzees to know that their lives have changed for the better because they feel it in their new environment, in the people who care for them, and in the grass beneath their feet.  They feel it every time they say “no” and a human says “ok, your body belongs to you” instead of “I’m doing it anyway.”

Karen has put a lot of trust in us to fulfill our shared goal of providing a home for more chimpanzees. She knows that we’ve faced some headwinds in our efforts towards this goal. We were really hoping that 2017 would be the year that we would welcome more chimpanzees to CSNW, but we are okay working on a different timeline. We remain determined to do whatever we can to help the remaining chimpanzees in laboratories find their sanctuary home. We are eager to break ground for the Phase 1 construction of the expansion next year, which will benefit the seven chimpanzees already here in addition to preparing for more chimps. Karen’s donation will make that possible.


Missy seemed like an appropriate chimpanzee to feature with this post. She takes full advantage of all that the sanctuary has to offer. Obstacles simply do not deter her – she’ll find a way around them or just conquer them.

Young’s Hill, the chimpanzees two-acre habitat, was named after past major donors Karen and Don Young, who donated a large gift to get the hill construction started, in addition to other large gifts for other projects like the greenhouse and the veterinary clinic trailer.

Missy loves Young’s Hill. She especially seems to enjoy the first exploration of the day. I tried to get some photos of Missy on the hill yesterday morning. This is always a challenge, because she is usually a blur of motion. She ran, climbed, and swung from one structure to another – leaving virtually nothing untouched.

She would stop very briefly when she reached a destination, quickly survey her surroundings, and then leap away again to continue her exploration.

Fifth Day of Thanks, Featuring Vicki Fagerlee & Foxie

November 25th, 2017 by Diana

Yesterday, J.B. took some photos of the chimpanzees enjoying their post-Thanksgiving morning romp on the hill. It was a beautiful morning yesterday and the chimpanzees wasted no time in taking advantage of the sunshine. There are some great images of Foxie in this post below!

Today is the fifth day of thanks highlighting seven different donors and their seven ways of donating + the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary!

In case you missed the first four posts, day one featured legacy donor Bruce Davidson + Burrito, day two featured event donor Kathy Cochran + Annie, day three featured recurring donor Julie Olson + Jody, and day four featured challenge and competition donor Monica Best + Negra.

For the fifth day of thanks, we are sending big thanks to Vicki Fagerlee and everyone who sends items via our amazon.com wishlist. Vicki won a “spend the day behind-the-scenes at the sanctuary” auction item a few years ago and traveled halfway across the country for that unique experience. It was really special for the staff to be able to meet Vicki in person and get to know her, and to introduce her to the chimpanzees who she had been following via the internet. Vicki also donates cold hard cash, but she likes to supplement her cash donations by browsing the wish list for all of the somewhat boring supplies needed to run the chimp house and fun stuff for the chimpanzees too.

Here’s what Vicki had to stay about her wish list giving:

It’s an easy way to contribute to the functioning of the sanctuary and the happiness of the chimpanzees. With the wish list, I know what I’m buying is exactly what is needed. Plus it makes me feel so good to give in a small way. You are all so special and I saw first-hand all that it takes to keep things going on a daily basis.

She also added this about following the blog, “Your daily updates put me in my happy place.”

That last sentiment made my day. I just love knowing that people are following the lives of the chimpanzees and that these seven chimpanzee people bring happiness to a lot of human people out there.

For those who even just casually check in on the blog once in a while, you likely are very aware of Foxie’s love of dolls. Her main and original love is troll dolls:

foxie troll on neck


but she also likes Dora the Explorer and friends:


and the occasional “other” doll:


Her main type seems to be handheld size dolls with hard plastic bodies, big eyes, and a bonus for colorful hair.

Like any collector, Foxie has her old favorites. Today she has been carrying around a standard troll with orange hair that is missing one eye and is one firm bite away from being without feet. Each time I passed her by during the cleaning routine this morning, she pushed this troll out to me.

I think it was the same doll that she carried around all day last week:

foxie holding troll


Also like a true collector, Foxie  is always excited when new dolls arrive for her in the mail. So we do add dolls to our amazon wish list once in a while. There are a lot of materials that we’re not able to give to the chimpanzees (see the long list here), so when items are purchased from the wish list, you know they have been pre-approved by the staff.

Recently, Foxie’s been into a line of Strawberry Shortcake dolls. She had one of them on her morning romp on the hill yesterday. Here are those photos taken by J.B. that I promised:

foxie and the landscape

foxie holding doll

foxie tossing doll