Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

August Birthdays

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Foxie’s 38th birthday, and One Green Planet shared the birthday video on their site today. Check it out and please share!

Speaking of birthdays, we have another August birthday coming up—Missy is turning 39 this Saturday! We have big plans underway already, including all of Missy’s favorites: socks, slinkies, kongs, and tomatoes!

Here’s some recent photos of the upcoming birthday girl:




Missy and Annie (this picture was posted to our Instagram the other day for the 100 Happy Days challenge)


If you want to contribute toward the birthday festivities, make a donation today in Missy’s name, or become one of her pals!

The train

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

There is a train that goes along the river that is in the valley below the sanctuary. Negra often likes to watch the train go by at her window spot from the playroom—the train can be seen on the south side of the building and Young’s Hill. Jody however, was on the north end of the hill this morning when the train started to go by. We don’t always hear the horn blowing (because there aren’t any large train crossings near us) but you can sometimes hear a slight screech of the wheels against the tracks.

When Jody heard that this morning, she got a little spooked, and approached Jamie for some reassurance by reaching out and hugging her back. Jamie grunted (sorry, the photos don’t show that!) to sort of affirm, “yes, I heard that, too, and it’s okay.”




Still somewhat spooked, Jody retreated toward the safety of the greenhouse.


But before she could reach the building, she saw the train passing by, and I think she was comforted in seeing that the strange noise was really coming from something quite normal in their lives.





Arm rest

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

After the lunch forage the other day, Jamie brought in her haul and casually ate at her leisure. Pretty leisurely too, I might add, with her arm just resting on the ladder. I think we can all relate… I know I love to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a snack. Usually that snack isn’t raw onions, but Jamie’s palate must be more refined than mine ;)





Jody and plants

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Jody loves plants, of all varieties. In the wild, chimpanzees are known as “frugivores” meaning the majority of their diet is made up of fruit. But they also supplement with leaves, bark, pith, seeds, nuts, honey, ants, termites, and in some communities they will even hunt small mammals. Though Jody loves the fresh produce we offer, she also likes to supplement throughout the day with plants.

Sometimes she forages for native plants that grow wild on Young’s Hill:

web Jody walk green grass plants in mouth YH (ek) IMG_8998

or she also loves to munch on bamboo that we have planted in the greenhouse and on Young’s Hill:



and other times she likes to collect plants we put out as a forage. The other day she collected some pea tendrils from our garden:



Today she found a mouthful of cattails and took them inside to enjoy at her leisure:

(and she even found some leftover pea tendrils from the other day, too!)


Take Action Tuesday! Tell Ramsay to stick to yelling at would-be chefs and leave chimpanzees alone

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

EOA take action tuesday

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently posted photos of himself and his family members holding a baby chimpanzee to his Facebook page. The chimpanzee is showing his or her top teeth in this photo, which is actually a fear grin—not a smile.

Chimpanzees are not pets! They are wild animals who should be with their mothers when they are young, and who are dangerous when they get older. Seeing chimpanzees in close contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated like pets.

We’re so disappointed that Gordon Ramsay is promoting the exotic animal trade rather than using his celebrity status to protect chimpanzees, who are critically endangered in the wild.

We want Gordon Ramsay to remove the Facebook photos of the baby chimpanzee. Please send a polite letter to him, c/o his publicist Staci Wolfe, letting him know that chimps should not be used for photo ops alongside humans. Please urge Ramsay to remove all the photos from his Facebook page and promise to never host a visit with a chimpanzee again.


You may send your letter to Gordon Ramsay c/o Staci Wolfe at

Sample Letter to Gordon Ramsay:

Dear Mr. Ramsay:

I was disappointed to hear that you took photos with your family holding a baby chimpanzee and posted them to your Facebook page. You should know that when chimpanzees show their top teeth it is a sign of distress, not happiness.

Chimpanzees provided for photos ops to pose with humans are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a photo op sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. When people see you holding a baby chimpanzee, they assume that chimpanzees make good pets. Though chimpanzees may seem cute and cuddly when infants, they become dangerous as they get older. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Please make the compassionate decision to remove the photos, and pledge to never pose holding baby chimpanzees again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

[Your name here]

If you send an e-mail to Gordon, please remember to BCC Eyes on Apes at for tracking purposes. Thank you!

Rainy days

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Yesterday, Jamie received a package in the mail with new cowgirl boots from our long time supporters and friends, Don and Karen Young (for whom Young’s Hill was named thanks to their generous contribution to making it possible). When we arrived at the sanctuary this morning, Jamie was watching us from the greenhouse and as soon as we got out of our cars she immediately gestured that she was ready for a walk with her new boots. I think that’s something we can all relate to.

A wonderful article, featuring the chimpanzees, was posted today on One Green Planet speaking to the many ways in which chimpanzees and humans are alike. And today at the sanctuary was another simple example of that. We are getting some much needed rain to the area and the chimpanzees and humans alike are kicking up their heels a bit more with the cooler temperatures. And although Jamie was ready and waiting for an early morning walk, due to intermittent thunder showers, we had to wait for the voltage on the electric fencing surrounding the chimpanzees’ outdoor area to come up before we could give the chimps access to the hill. So just as we humans do when we are waiting for stormy weather to pass, Jamie reluctantly made a nest, holding fast to her new boots, and waited it out.


Finally, after lunch the voltage on the fence was high enough to give them access to Young’s Hill. Jamie immediately had J.B. put on some boots and they set off for a perimeter walk. While Jamie and J.B. were busy walking, everyone else (well, except Negra who chose to take an after lunch nap) raced out onto the hill to enjoy the brief break in weather.

Missy, being Missy, made several laps up and down, and back and forth, only stopping to occasionally check out the view:


But it wouldn’t be long before she was off to race across the hill, or chase her friend, Annie, again:


Jody, marched out onto the hill with purpose, clearly on a mission. A mission to forage for a rather large piece of bamboo to bring back to enjoy in the comfort of her nest before the rain began again:


web_jody_forage_bamboo_bidpedal_jb_IMG_1233 web_jody_forage_bamboo_jb_IMG_1240

Even Foxie felt adventurous and explored the platforms on her own. Well, not exactly on her own as she had Dora with her, of course.



While these moments captured seemingly simple joys for the chimpanzees that we as humans can relate to, there is no denying the countless ways in which chimpanzees experience the world and their lives just as we do. For me, I just consider us to be different cultures who still have distinctly similar thoughts, emotions, and desires. Who still want the same things in life. Just like all beings we share this planet with.

Chimpanzees Don’t Belong on Either Side of the Theater Screen

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

A story appeared recently in the Daily Mail and Good Morning America showing images and video of two young chimpanzees, Vali and Sugriva, going to the theater with their “handlers” and watching the film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The irony is that the two young chimpanzees were exploited for this publicity stunt, and brought into a theater to watch a movie that purposefully avoided using live ape actors… (Read more on Care2)

Angel was kept in a Hollywood training facility and routinely beaten and abused into submission by her trainers. She displayed a toothy grin—called a fear grimace—just at the sight of a camera. Angel was rescued by the Center for Great Apes as part of a legal suit against her former trainer.

Angel was kept in a Hollywood training facility and routinely beaten and abused into submission by her trainers. She displayed a toothy grin—called a fear grimace—just at the sight of a camera. Angel was rescued by the Center for Great Apes as part of a legal suit against her former trainer.

For more on the training facility Vali and Sugriva live at, visit our trainer page on Eyes on Apes.

Thank you to Care2 for posting our op-ed on this issue! Please share the article with your friends and get the word out that chimpanzees do not belong on either side of the theater screen.

Paper bag day

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

First off—today is the Doggie and Troll Olympics! The games are currently underway and although I wish I could be there to enjoy all the fun, Katelyn, myself, and volunteers Connie and Annie are here with the chimps having fun of our own. (If you weren’t able to join the games today, consider making a donation in Foxie’s honor—the troll games, after all, are about Foxie’s love of troll dolls and an early celebration of her August 8th birthday!)

We’re always trying to come up with interesting enrichment themes for the chimps. The other day I noticed how many paper shopping bags we had collected and thought it would be fun to fill them with enrichment and seal them closed so the chimps would have to open them like presents.

Jamie, of course, loved that project—but to my surprise, Burrito found paper bag day to be a big hit! He used them to display with, which is very helpful if you’re a male chimpanzee. And then he methodically went through one bag, but by the time I grabbed the camera, he had emptied it and was using it as a pillow. Who knew paper shopping bags could have so many uses!


Jamie playing

Friday, July 18th, 2014

We’ve often described Jamie as a complicated chimpanzee. She seems to identify more with the humans than with being a chimpanzee, but at the same time, she’s very socially manipulative and runs the show around here. As the boss, there’s no doubt she always has a lot on her mind. Most of the time, Jamie is pretty serious about things, even when she’s playing with the humans. She will ask to groom our shoes or wrists, play chase, or walk around the hill—and we will usually get a head nod from her as acknowledgement that she’s happy about that moment, but rarely does she laugh when playing with humans. Foxie, however, seems to be the one individual who can really get Jamie to be silly. The other chimpanzees are occasionally able to get Jamie’s silly side out, but not as much as Foxie.

The other day I posted the first part of this video on our Instagram account—if you’re not following us there, you should be! Today I got Foxie and Jamie playing again and laughing pretty hard. It wasn’t long before Jamie caught me, the paparazzi, and shifted her attention away. She looked toward my boot so I played a little tickle game. You’ll be able to see her briefly head nod, but not laugh the way she does when she’s wrestling with Foxie.

I’ve always found it interesting that though Jamie is very human-oriented, she seems to really only let her guard down when playing with other chimpanzees. Jamie is certainly an interesting and complicated chimpanzee, but we love her all the more for it.