Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

Thanksgiving Eve (the 6th day of thanks!)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

This week we’ve expressed our gratitude for everyone who plays a part in helping Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest fulfill its mission. Staff, board members, and volunteers are integral people who dedicate so much of their lives to helping the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees. In-kind donations of services and goods help us stretch every dollar we can, and grants and foundations help us complete big projects. But you—our donors—are literally the heartbeat that keeps the sanctuary pumping.

Donations have forever changed the lives of the Cle Elum Seven with projects like Young’s Hill and the on-site mobile veterinary clinic. Not only do donations contribute to big projects, but they keep the sanctuary going day-to-day. As JB wrote about last week, staff members are devoted, long-term friends and caregivers of the Cle Elum Seven, and they keep the outreach and volunteer programs going as well as working on development and operations. Your donations bring our hard-working team together to make CSNW the best possible home for the Cle Elum Seven and an all-around amazing organization.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, we want to take a minute to reflect on how far we have come with your help, and how your role will take us so much further. We simply cannot ever express with enough gratitude how appreciative we are for every dollar that is given, and every minute someone spends telling their friends and family about why they support Annie, Negra, Jody, Jamie, Burrito, Foxie, and Missy.

It’s hard to put into words the impact that all our donors have had on the lives of seven very special beings. Perhaps words can never truly express the importance you’ve all had in their lives, but maybe these “before and after” pictures can illustrate that effect.













The outpouring of support during the last six and a half years is evidence that our donors really do have the biggest hearts, and it is because of you that the Cle Elum Seven finally have a second chance at life.

Your donations have given Burrito hope.

web Burrito look up sun in face clear sky YH IMG_1043

You’ve given Foxie love.


You’ve given Missy a home.

web Missy wrapped up in blanket nest greenhouse GH IMG_0816

You’ve given these chimpanzees the sanctuary they so deserve—and for that, we thank you!

Bobbing for apples

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

It’s fall time and that means apples are very plentiful. Today we decided to let the chimps bob for apples! We filled buckets with water and added small whole apples. As predicted, no one really “bobbed” for their apples—they just used their hands :) But they definitely loved the forage—food squeaks were echoing through the chimp house as we scattered the buckets around.

Jamie in particular loves whole apples and she gets very excited whenever we include them in forages. Today was no different, and she was sure to get her share (and then some!) But everyone else enjoyed the forage as well.






After all that foraging, Jamie curled up for a nice nap in the sun:


Take Action Tuesday: One Direction’s wrong turn

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

EOA take action tuesday

Last month, we sent out an action alert about the band One Direction’s new music video with a chimpanzee named Eli. Several advocacy groups, experts, and supporters from around the world wrote to the band, but so far we haven’t heard any kind of commitment from the boys to avoid working with apes in future productions. Since their new album is releasing next week, we want to continue to put pressure on the band and ask that they make the pledge before their album release—and until they do, we will spread the word to fans and tell them not to buy the album.

Many of our readers are aware of the tragic lives of chimpanzees in entertainment—chimps like Jamie, for instance, live with trainers when they are young and when they are too big to be managed, they have to live inside a cage for the rest of their lives. Jamie is lucky to have reached a sanctuary, but many others have not had that chance. Some of Eli’s trainer’s former chimp “actors” have been cast off to decrepit roadside zoos. The trainer himself, Steve Martin, has been cited numerous times for things such as failure to have an environmental-enhancement program to promote the psychological well-being of primates, failure to supply adequate shelter from the elements and inadequate ventilation, failure to provide animals with minimum space, filthy cages, and improper feeding.


We’re so disappointed that the One Direction band members are promoting the exotic animal trade rather than using their celebrity statuses to protect chimpanzees, who are critically endangered in the wild.

We urge you to continue to put pressure on One Direction to remove the photos and promise to never use apes again. Please post on their Facebook and Twitter pages and let them know that chimps like Eli should not be used in entertainment. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees in close contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

You may also send a letter to the band c/o Lisa Wolfe at

Sample Comment on One Direction’s Facebook:

I am disappointed to see that One Direction went ahead and included clips with Eli in the Steal My Girl video, despite hearing from concerned advocates. Chimpanzees do not belong in music videos and you should know that Eli’s trainer is cited for dozens of animal welfare violations ( Showing these images perpetuates the idea that chimps make good pets. Please make the compassionate decision pledge to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. I won’t be buying your new album until you make that promise, and I’ll tell all my friends to do the same. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sample Tweets to One Direction:

@OneDirection sad to see Eli in #StealMyGirlVideo. I won’t buy your new album until you pledge to never use apes again!

@Louis_Tomlinson @zaynmalik Eli had a nasty chain on his neck in the #StealMyGirlVideo pics! Please promise you won’t work with apes again.

We would love to see Eli and all remaining chimpanzees in entertainment reach a sanctuary, so they can receive the lifetime quality care they deserve and get a second chance at life like Jamie. We’d love to hear stories about sanctuary life someday for Eli and others like this one of Jamie:

This morning, new volunteer caregiver-in-training Lizz kept Jamie busy for quite awhile by dropping a piece of banana just outside the fencing. Jamie first used a magazine, but when that didn’t help much, Denice gave her a plastic tube which was much more helpful. Once she got the banana up against the fencing she used her fingers to delicately move the banana to spot where she could pull it through. We’ve talked a lot before about Jamie’s knack for projects and keeping busy, but when she’s not working on various projects—she’s quite talented at nest-making, and consequently, nap-taking.



The final thing you can do to help Eli is to spread the word! Please share this blog on social media and encourage your friends to speak up for him, too.

Taking in the view

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Negra spends a lot of time in front of windows. She has a few spots that she seems to have claimed as her own, all with great vantage points for watching the goings-on of the sanctuary property.

Her usual spot is in the catwalk in the playroom—from that window she can watch the cows, horses, goats, and elk wander about, the humans walking around the hill with Jamie, the cars drive along the highway, and the train go through the river canyon below. It’s a pretty great view so I understand why she spends a big chunk of time watching from there. Another spot she has claimed is in the corner of the greenhouse by the Young’s Hill raceway, which is actually the same view as her catwalk spot.

To get a look at the other side of the property she has a spot in front of the highest window in the loft area, and the same view can be seen from the window immediately below the loft, in one of the front rooms. This is the first place the chimpanzees had a chance to look outside when they first arrived at the sanctuary.

When I found these photos below on our computer from a couple weeks ago, the look in Negra’s eyes as she gazes out the window is all I could think about. And it made me think about the day the chimps first arrived. Though I wasn’t here that day, I anxiously waited for this very special blog post announcing that the chimps were in their new home (with a picture of Negra at the same window) and one from the next day including a video of Negra leaving her transfer cage, entering her new home, and greeting Sarah.



We can’t ever know what must go through Negra’s mind as she’s gazing out at the valley below, or watching staff, volunteers, visitors, or delivery people come and go from the other side of the building. Whatever it is she’s pondering, I would imagine it’s much different than when the chimps first arrived. Those first few days I’m sure it was thoughts of wonderment, curiosity, and even fear of the unknown. I hope now that her thoughts are more about what she might see Ellie up to today, or who’s walking up the driveway to visit, or how long the train will be this time.

Evening Enrichment

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Each day we put out various enrichment items for the chimpanzees based on some sort of theme like “tea party day” or fort day”. These enrichment items include things like blankets, dora and troll dolls, boots, wooden and plastic toys, containers etc. This way the chimps can choose to use or not use the enrichment items throughout the day.

Each evening, after serving dinner and before turning out the lights, we also give the chimps some sort of puzzle to work on. The evening enrichment is aimed at keeping the chimps (mostly Jamie) occupied. The evening enrichment sometimes includes kongs with a few nuts inside, raisin boards, hanging puzzles, drink buckets.

Last night, we put out drink buckets for the chimps. This involved filling each bucket half full with water and adding in a few slices of tangerines (other nights we may use slices of lemon or lime). We set the buckets outside of the front rooms and playroom and gave each of the chimps a long “straw” to use to get at the flavored water.

Happy chickens, food, and thanks!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

We have been very fortunate lately to receive some awesome food donations—Darwin pet food company has donated cases and cases of fresh produce the last few months which has certainly reduced our food bill every month! We are so appreciative, and so are the chimpanzees. Just check out one of the hauls:


And here’s some of the celery they donated being enjoyed by Annie and Negra:


And Missy snacking on a beet:

Part of our food philosophy is that the chimps have a primarily plant-based diet, which is why we’re so thankful for the Darwin’s donations! Recently we thought about seeing if the chimps like eggs, which would be a great source of protein for them in addition to the nuts they already eat and protein powder in their morning smoothie. It just so happens that I’m the proud caretaker of a few happy chickens who roam around my house (which is seated on a large family farm just outside Ellensburg).



I’ve always been thrilled to share the ladies’ eggs with friends and family, giving them the opportunity to have eggs from free-roaming chickens. So I decided to bring in some hard-boiled eggs for the chimps to see if they would like them! It turns out that they were no stranger to having eggs before. Though we expected that they would be weary of eating such a strange item, and it might take a few tastes to decide if they liked them or not, we were surprised to see their reaction—they definitely know what eggs are and they definitely like them. Negra was absolutely beside herself when she saw me walking out with the eggs, food squeaking with delight. The other chimpanzees quickly came over to get the exciting snack.


Foxie, however, is not so sure about eggs. She’s always been more hesitant to try new things (even if she ends up loving those things eventually). The first time we served the eggs, Foxie sniffed it and tossed it to the ground. She then went around and watched everyone eating their egg to see what was so exciting about it. The second time we served them, I peeled one for Foxie (while everyone else was happy to receive their with the shell and peel them on their own) and she took a quick bite before dropping the other half on the ground. Annie was very pleased to pick up Foxie’s leftovers, and Foxie very intensely food peered while Annie ate her eggs. This very uncomfortable looking behavior is a common act in chimpanzee culture, and Foxie especially likes to food-peer. Perhaps after watching the other chimps happily eat their eggs twice now, the third time will be the charm for Foxie!



Knowledge and Responsibility

Monday, October 27th, 2014

I’m often told how great it must be to have a job caring for chimpanzees and I have to agree. There are so many highlights of working at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. Of course, there are the chimpanzees, each with their own unique and inspiring qualities. And there are the incredibly compassionate and dedicated staff members, volunteers and donors that work on behalf of the Cle Elum Seven. Add in a beautiful setting and its the perfect job.

The truth is, I love my job, but I really wish it didn’t exist. The reality is there has to be chimpanzees in captivity for me to be a chimpanzee caretaker. But, chimpanzees do not belong in captivity. Period.

A past teacher of mine used to say “With knowledge comes responsibility”. I didn’t realize just how much those four words would mean until I started learning more about the fate of chimpanzees in the entertainment and biomedical industries and those kept as pets. Once I learned the fates of those chimpanzees, I stopped buying cards with pictures of chimpanzees “smiling” and I stopped watching movies with chimpanzees in them. But, I wanted to do more; I felt I had a responsibility to do more.

So, I am trying to do that, by helping to make captivity the best that it can possibly be for the chimpanzees of CSNW. This means respecting them as individuals, giving them choices, providing daily enrichment, sharing their stories and advocating for them and all apes.

These are the seven chimpanzees that I work for.








Enjoying the Sunshine and the Tea Party

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The chimpanzees were excited to make the most of the sunshine this morning by spending time on Young’s Hill. Jody was the first to venture outside, followed by Burrito, Jamie, Foxie, Missy and then Annie. Negra was close; she made it to the raceway that leads out to the hill, then sat down and looked outside.

Missy and Annie shared a few quiet minutes sitting together on top of the shaky bridge.


As soon as Missy spotted Jamie, she jumped down from the bridge and ran after her. And then Jamie took turns running after Missy.




And then Foxie joined Annie on the shaky bridge. (Annie is facing away from the camera)


In the mean time, Negra sat quietly in the Greenhouse, near the raceway, alternating between looking outside and inspecting her hand.



Jody gathered some bamboo before heading back to the greenhouse to relax and groom herself.




Meanwhile, volunteers Erin and Jake set up a tea party for the chimpanzees in the Playroom for today’s “Tea Party” theme. Jamie was all about it. After drinking the tea, she inspected the inside of each cup; turning it upside down, sticking her fingers in the cup and then licking them. She gives meaning to the saying “Good to the last drop”






And Burrito spent the better part of the rainy afternoon grooming his good friend Foxie.



The relentless hawk

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The hawk saga has continued this week and the chimps are still on high alert. Last week, J.B. posted about a hawk that caused the chimps to be somewhat apprehensive.

Here’s a couple shots of the hawk (we’re calling him Hank).



Since Hank has been hanging out this whole week, the chimps are more used to his presence, but they are still very territorial. Today, Missy was still a little apprehensive and took cover inside the tunnel, and then ran back toward the safety of the chimp house. But Foxie, Jody, and Jamie were on patrol letting Hank know who’s in charge.

Missy emerging from the tunnel:


Foxie, Jody, and Jamie on alert:

And then on patrol to secure the rest of the territory:


Jamie took one last look back to make sure Hank learned his lesson:

It’s really great getting to see the chimps exhibit such a naturalistic behavior—patrolling the fence line and defending their home.


More ways to help the chimps!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

One of my favorite things about our gala auction (and online auction, too!) is that people who bid on items not only give generously to support the chimps, but they get a nice tangible item too. Win-win! There are many different ways to help support the chimps, from sponsoring a day of sanctuary to becoming a pal to one of the Cle Elum Seven, to participating in our fundraising events, and even just in your everyday shopping!

Awhile back we posted about how Amazon’s program AmazonSmile will donate a portion of sales from everyday things you shop for on Amazon to the sanctuary (read more on how to set that up here). We also have a program set up through Fred Meyer, a northwest one-stop-shop store, and a way to help the sanctuary when buying or selling on eBay through eBay Giving Works. You also can apply for a credit card that helps out the chimps! All win-win deals. Check all those options out on this page.

One new thing we added to that page was our connection with Cars 4 Causes, an organization which takes vehicles, gets them prepped for sale, auctions them off and then gives a chunk of the proceeds to the sanctuary! My family actually recently took advantage of this opportunity and donated our boat that I remember taking camping trips in as a child. It went up for auction and did really well—but unfortunately, the high bidder backed out last minute for financial reasons and so the boat is back up for auction. Seattle-area friends, please spread the word about this auction! And if you or anyone you know is thinking about getting rid of a vehicle, consider donating it to Cars 4 Causes to support CSNW.

Here’s some pictures of the chimps, as a reminder of who you are supporting with all these fun and unique ways to donate: