Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

Year Eight

Monday, June 20th, 2016

We hope that you have been enlightened, entertained, and inspired by the musings on years’ past this week. Today’s final post in the looking-back brings us from June 2015 to last week, the eighth anniversary of the arrival of the Cle Elum Seven to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

The chimps’ eighth year began with a true test of our medical clinic. Burrito spent some time in the clinic twice after breaking a canine tooth. The first was an exam to determine the extent of his previously-diagnosed congestive heart failure and to assess the broken tooth, and the second was the tooth (make that teeth) extraction procedure.

Burrito tooth extraction

The chimpanzees are so fortunate to have such good human friends in their corner, who always go out of their way to ensure that they have the best care possible, and Burrito was in the hands of a large huge team of veterinary professionals who donated their time and skills to see Burrito through his procedures without a hitch.

Dare I say he’s even cuter with his missing teeth?

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Dora the Explorer and friends were making frequent appearances with Foxie last year, and she seemed to show a particular fondness for the jaunty and clearly extra-adventurous France Dora:

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and Dora’s fiery-haired friend Kate:

a flair for the dramatic

 

Troll dolls have not been replaced, though! They continued to be a favorite enrichment item for Foxie, with some of the other chimps seeming to adopt the trend:

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Negra with a troll doll

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Jody with a troll doll

 

Last summer, J.B. put together another of my favorite videos of the last eight years – the epic Troll Scarf Tug O War:

 

While the chimpanzees continue to make the most out of the ever-expanding life in sanctuary…

 

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Jamie at the top of Twister

 

…the humans have been working hard “behind the scenes” to secure their future and work towards giving more chimpanzees a sanctuary life. The community of donors and volunteers came together and made it possible to purchase the sanctuary property that we had been leasing, acquire new land that tripled the total sanctuary footprint, and enter into an agreement to provide a home for chimpanzees coming out of biomedical research.

And, on a national scale, there was huge news as invasive biomedical research on chimpanzees came to a halt.

Just think about what the next eight years will bring!

Year One

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the arrival of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees–Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy, and Negra–to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and a celebration of Negra’s 43rd birthday.

It’s so hard for me to believe that eight years have already passed since the chimps’ arrival, and it’s even harder for me to believe that Negra is eight years older than she was when the truck full of chimpanzees pulled up the sanctuary driveway on June 13, 2008.

truck pulling up driveway with chimps

Negra in transport cage

Because this is such a nostalgic time for everyone who has been following the story of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary, and because so many people are relatively new followers, I thought it would be fun and informative to take this week to briefly chronicle some of the events of the last eight years, one year per day.

Of course I know you won’t want to miss the news of today’s big celebration, so we will be sharing that later today on the blog too. If you are subscribed to the e-newsletter, you will also be receiving an email today that celebrates Negra’s journey over the last eight years.

For now, here’s a glimpse of the first year of sanctuary for the Cle Elum Seven.

 

EVERYTHING was new to the chimpanzees.

 

From enrichment:

 

 

To the views out the windows:

 

To the changes in weather:

 

Rainstorm bravery

Missy standing in doorway

 

Let it snow!

Annie eating snow, Jamie and Negra in doorway

 

And the chimpanzees were new to us humans, too. Though we had met them at Buckshire before they came to the sanctuary, we didn’t have the chance to really get to know them until we spent time with them in their new home. We started to learn about their personalities and their likes and dislikes pretty quickly.

Here is one observation about Jamie and her intelligence a few days after the chimps arrived:

Learning about Jamie

 

And of course the humans, and Foxie herself, discovered her lasting love of troll dolls during her first year of sanctuary, leading us to ask supporters for more troll dolls. None of us knew then how big her collection would become!

Foxie with Troll and night time package

 

Foxie’s first troll doll:

Foxie and Trixie

 

Foxie demonstrating that troll dolls suit her fun-loving personality:

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We were delighted to discover Burrito’s out-of-this-world food-squeaking:

 

Touched by Annie’s love of Missy:

Annie grooming Missy

Missy and Annie with big playfaces

Missy and Annie with big playfaces

 

And thrilled with Jody’s ability to relax:

Jody on Valentine's Day, just holding her feet

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Every day of the chimps’ first year in sanctuary was an incredible gift.

I’m not going to lie–we had some tough times as an organization as we were just getting our footing. There were stressful moments, to be sure, but it was so inspiring to have the opportunity to watch the chimpanzees learn more about their new home and themselves. And it was incredible to connect with other people who wanted to be a part of giving them that chance. This blog has played a big role in that process, and I’m grateful to everyone who has read it in the past and is reading it right now. Thank you!

It’s pretty thrilling to think that if you stick around you will also be a part of providing so many “firsts” for more chimpanzees who will be coming to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in the future.

 

Today we remember Robert Ruggeri

Monday, June 6th, 2016

This special day of sanctuary was sponsored by the chimpanzees’ good friend, Rachel Ruggeri, in memory of her father, Robert Ruggeri. Rachel shared this wonderful message about today:

“My father loved animals and always believed freedom was preferable to security…for all creatures. He would have been proud to see the gang at Cle Elum find both their freedom and their happiness. Monday, June 6th would have been my father’s 80th birthday. In his honor, may the Cle Elum gang know freedom for the rest of their lives.”

Rachel we are so full of gratitude to you for all that you do for the chimpanzees – for providing them with the opportunity to live out their days with the freedom to be, and continue to discover, exactly who they are in each minute of the day. Freedom means different things to different people and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for providing them with a home in which they feel secure enough to be more courageous, joyful, and comfortable in their own skin, expanding far beyond any physical boundaries.

Robert must have been an amazing person and we are so happy to honor him today! All of us here at CSNW are wishing you a day filled with love, joy and comfort as you celebrate the memory of your father.

Annie:

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Burrito:

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Foxie and Dora:

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Jamie:

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Jody:

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Missy:

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Negra:

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Annie and Missy:

Missy Annie running behind

Speaking on Captivity

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

Captivity. It’s been in the news a lot, and I know on a lot of our minds.

It is simply a fact of everyday life and work when your occupation is caring for chimpanzees in a sanctuary. We go to great lengths to ensure that the chimpanzees are unable to breach the barriers we have constructed to contain them, and while we do it for both their own safety and the safety of those on the other side of the barriers, it doesn’t change the reality of the situation–the steel caging, bullet-proof glass, electric fence, and many, many locks of which only the humans have the keys.

As a sanctuary, our aim is to attempt to right what we perceive to be a wrong and to give back some measure of what our species has taken from another species, but we don’t view this second chance for the chimpanzees living here as the ideal life, and our friends behind bars often remind us of this. A few years ago, I wrote about my perception of Jamie’s awareness of her own captivity in the context of the shift in how we as a society view what chimpanzees deserve and what our obligations are towards them. You can read that post here.

I am buoyed by the positive events that have occurred for chimpanzees just since writing that post three years ago. We are closer than ever – maybe we are even there – to the end of chimpanzee biomedical research in this country. How did we get here? How did we get to this moment in history where the practice of using chimpanzees in biomedical testing is widely seen as abhorrent from a society that thought it was entirely permissible and within our rights as humans to slaughter chimpanzee families, collect the infants, and ship them across the world to use them in experimentation? There are many specific answers to that question, but the general answer, I think, can be explained by a formula that applies to progress towards greater human rights as well: knowledge + people speaking out + time = societal shifts.

These shifts don’t happen overnight and they don’t happen without resistance. By definition, it takes the majority of people who held onto an “old way” of thinking to either no longer be a part of society or it takes individuals to change their own stance. We all know how stubborn our species is, so the former is often the key factor and is really built into the formula under “time.” But our modern age has given us the ability to gain information and collect knowledge in an instant, and we are quickly made aware of more people speaking out. This allows shifts to happen faster.

As uncomfortable and impassioned as some discussions can get around the practice of keeping great apes and other non-human animals in captivity, I choose to view it as very positive sign that these discussion are happening in a very public way. The proverbial and literal elephant in the room is being pointed out, making it almost impossible to ignore the bigger ethical questions of holding intelligent, highly social, long-lived species in captive environments, generation after generation. What truly justifies this activity?

The thing about societal shifts in thinking, though, is that when you’re in the middle of them, there will be individuals and institutions on both sides. Looking back at shifts that have happened in the past, it’s really difficult to understand how so many people were involved in something that is now viewed as unjust, but that’s the benefit of hindsight. There is no “new way” without an “old way” and the “old way” is something that the majority of people likely had few qualms about, but that doesn’t mean they had some sort of flaw in their character. I applaud the individuals and institutions that are at the forefront of rejecting old, unfair, and unjust ways of doing things, but I understand that some will invariable be slower to adjust–that’s all part of a shift.

Let’s keep talking. Let’s not be afraid of our convictions and our desire for a more just world. And let’s also remember that each of us have different levels of knowledge, exposure to different voices, and may have developed our opinions in a different period of time and societal-wide mentality than ourselves.

In the meantime, let’s be thankful, on behalf of seven chimpanzees in Cle Elum, Washington, that societies do indeed shift towards greater understanding and compassion, and it happens one person at a time. Though we are unable to give the chimpanzees true freedom, we can give them something closer to it than they’ve ever experienced before.

 

Here’s Missy and Annie enjoying the wild prickly lettuce that they harvested:

Missy eating prickly lettuce

Missy and Annie with prickly lettuce

Annie sitting on a log

 

Happy Birthday, Karen!

Friday, May 27th, 2016

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Ruth Mazner in honor of her daughter-in-law, Karen Emmerman Mazner, on her birthday! Karen and her family are such good friends to the chimpanzees and we are thrilled to share in her celebration! Ruth shared this lovely message about Karen:

“Karen is a strong advocate for animal rights. She devotes her life to teaching others that all living beings need to be treated with respect and love.”

Ruth, thank you so much for thinking of the chimpanzees as you honor Karen today with such a beautiful gift! We are so grateful to have the honor not only of knowing and caring for these seven amazing chimpanzees, but to be surrounded by all of the inspiring and compassionate humans they bring into all of our lives.

Karen, thank you so very much to you and your family for being part of our chimp family and for seeing them for the amazing beings they are. Our hearts are full of gratitude for all that you do to provide the chimps with lives in which their hearts and souls are ever expanding. All of us here at CSNW wish you the happiest of birthdays yet!!

Burrito:

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Happy Birthday, Marsha!

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Bruce Wagman in honor of Marsha Perelman on her birthday! Bruce and Marsha are both amazing friends to not only the chimpanzees, but to animals everywhere, and we’re thrilled to celebrate Marsha’s special day here today! Bruce shared this wonderful message about today:

“About ten or more years ago, through the most random of coincidences involving asbestos, I was introduced to Marsha.  Over the course of time since then, she has been a client, a teacher, a student, a partner, and most important of all, a dear friend.  And she has been an invaluable supporter of the Cle Elum Seven and other chimpanzees, in more ways than anyone can count, but in essence, by giving them her heart (while keeping big chunks of it for her dogs).  All sorts of animals are so lucky Marsha’s heart was born.  As an example of Marsha’s heart in play:  When I told Marsha about the lives of the CSNW chimps before they got to their Cle Elum bliss, her immediate response was, “I just want to go there and meet them and tell them I’m sorry.”  No need, Marsha.  Your actions have made that clear.  Happy Birthday to a true companion along the road to make up for what has been done to the world’s superior species.”

Many thanks to you, Bruce, for sponsoring such a special day in honor of Marsha! We are so full of gratitude to have humans such as yourselves sharing your incredible hearts in the world and for all you both do to make the lives of not only these seven very special chimpanzees better in every way possible, but for the countless other amazing beings whose lives you’ve made a difference in.

Happiest of birthdays to you, Marsha, we hope your day is full of all the love, joy and comfort you provide to so many others! Thank you so much for being part of our chimp family. And hoots of happiness to you from these seven beautiful chimp people:

Annie:

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Burrito:

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Foxie:

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Jamie:

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Jody:

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Missy:

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Negra:

Negra close-up

Today is in memory Judy Matthews

Monday, May 9th, 2016

It’s been a beautiful weekend of celebration of our beloved Jody’s birthday and honoring both the mothers who the chimpanzees lost and the mothers who they are. We are honored to continue the celebration with today’s day of sanctuary in memory of Judy Matthews, sponsored by her daughter, Ronda Cluff. Ronda sent this beautiful message about her mother:

“This donation is in memory of my mother, Judy Matthews, who nurtured my love and respect for animals by teaching me from the earliest age that “do unto others” applies to all creatures. She continued her support of me as I became a vegetarian and animal activist and even thanked ME for teaching HER to see the world a little differently”

Ronda, your mother sounds like such a special person and we are so touched that you would choose to honor her through helping to provide the chimpanzees with the nurturing home and lives they deserve. Thank you so much for choosing to live your life in such a compassionate way and for all you do for animals. What a beautiful way to honor your mother’s memory each day. As we celebrate Judy’s life here today, our thoughts and gratitude are with you both! Thank you for making a difference in the chimps’ lives!

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Water and Ice Enrichment on a Hot Day

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

There’s a whole crew of people here building a new structure on Young’s Hill today! We will do a big reveal on Monday, so start making your predictions as to what the structure will look like.

Because there are humans on the hill, the chimpanzees don’t have access. And today is HOT! It feels like summer. With these two circumstances combined, we needed to come up with something cooling and time-occupying for the chimpanzees. We decided on water and ice enrichment.

 

I’d say it was a hit.

 

Annie:

Annie drinking from table

 

Missy:

Missy picking up ice

Missy eating ice

Missy eating ice while looking at camera

 

Burrito:

Burrito next to table

Burrito chilling out

Burrito drinking water

 

Foxie:

Foxie with water

 

Jamie making up her own enrichment (of course):

Jamie with toothbrush and water 1

Jamie with toothbrush and water 2

Jamie with toothbrush and water 3

 

ANNIE and Family for the 3rd day of HOOT!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

J.B. and I met Annie eight and a half years ago, along with the rest of the chimpanzees who were to become The Cle Elum Seven.

From the very first blog post we wrote about her (read it here), when we talked about Annie, we talked about her friendship with Missy. Her clear love for and reliance on her friend Missy was her defining characteristic.

But Annie is coming into her own.

While some of the chimpanzees are taking advantage of the sanctuary and living out the childhood that they never had (notably Foxie – just watch the video re-posted to the blog yesterday), I think Annie has been experiencing a bit of a rebellious adolescence lately.

It was clear from day one that Annie was at the bottom of the hierarchy of the seven chimpanzees. We’ve written about her anxiety and lack of confidence in social situations many times. And we’ve told you that her confidence has skyrocketed in the last few years. What we might not have mentioned is that she’s moved beyond confidence to downright moxie.

As a general rule, timidity is not a trait that is revered in the chimpanzee social world. Chimpanzees can be a rough bunch, and if you’re not prepared to walk your talk (or would that be walk your pant-hoot?), you might find yourself in a perilous situation.

While Annie remains sweet and soulful, she is learning that she can be just as tough as the other ladies and gent, and she is much less likely to back down during conflicts now. In fact, sometimes she is the one starting them. If she feels wronged, she won’t just have a self-directed anxiety-laden outburst as she did in the past, she will let the group know she’s not only upset, but she’s not putting up with it.

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On Saturday, we will be raising funds at HOOT! for our Expansion Fund. We have some big dreams for the future of the sanctuary, and we will be sharing these, including a surprise announcement, at the gala.

We have received a matching grant pledge from the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund for $50,000. Laura Bonar, Fund Advisor for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund and Chief Program & Policy Officer at Animal Protection of New Mexico, will be one of our special guests at the event!

That grant and the matching funds that we will raise on Saturday will go towards our first phase of expansion. This means that we will be adding more chimpanzees to the group in the near future.

We are still seeing the individual personalities and the group dynamics of the Cle Elum Seven change after almost eight years, and this will be a whole new and thrilling chapter in the lives of Annie and her six family members.

Who knows how we will be describing Annie’s position three or four years from now. What I do know is all of the chimpanzees will continue to change and grow and experience life in new ways.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Annie hoot image

Today is for chimpanzees, Monica, and Gary Best

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Several years ago (seven to be exact!), the chimpanzees’ good friend and supporter, Monica Best, chose to celebrate her birthday by proclaiming April 23rd “Love a Chimpanzee Day” and she has sponsored it each year since for the chimpanzees. And this year as we celebrate chimpanzees and Monica we are also celebrating in memory of Monica’s dad, Gary Best.

Monica, you have the biggest heart, full of generosity and compassion. We are so grateful to you for all you do not only for the chimps, but for so many other animals in the world. We are honored to celebrate your dad here today – he must have been quite a man to have a daughter like you. All of us here are wishing you a day full of the comfort, love and joy you provide for so many others.

Happy Birthday, Monica, and Happy Love a Chimpanzee Day!

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