Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

Handsome Mr. B

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

I went out to the greenhouse this afternoon to snap a few photos of the chimpanzees—most of whom were lounging in hard-to-see spots, so I was out of luck. However, front and center was Mr. Burrito, looking handsome as ever.





It’s a jungle out there

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Okay, so, not quite a jungle—but the grass is very tall on Young’s Hill and the weeds are at the perfect stage for chimp snacking! Everyone has been on the hill a lot today, Negra was even out there on her own for awhile!

Even after nearly seven years in sanctuary, we still see the chimpanzees growing and truly coming into their own. I find that no matter how many times we see the chimps on the hill, it will never, ever get old. It’s still so awesome to see them outside, in their element foraging for tasty snacks, and sometimes even venturing to a point where we can’t see them!

It’s moments like those that make us reflect on how incredible sanctuary is and how much you all have really changed the lives of the Cle Elum Seven. Young’s Hill would not have been possible without generous gifts from supporters such as yourselves, and the exciting new projects we have in mind would never be able to get off the ground if it weren’t for our remarkable CSNW family. Words could really never say how much your support means to us, or to the chimpanzees, but maybe a few pictures can.

Jody in the grass jungle:





Negra, all on her own munching on some grass and weeds:







We are gearing up for our HOOT! gala in a couple weeks—the biggest fundraiser of the year, where folks can help sustain the sanctuary and support more indescribable moments like Jody getting lost in the grass jungle, and Negra hanging out on the hill all on her own for some delicious dandelion greens.

This year, I have been helping get all the auction items organized and ready for the big night. I’m astounded by all the wonderful items that have been donated! We have a preview site available, so check that out and decide now what you plan to bid on!


Join us May 30th for a fun night and learn more about the last seven years of moments!

Making the perfect tool

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

After breakfast Jamie set out onto Young’s Hill with purpose in her step.


We watched as she very methodically selected a bamboo shoot and headed back into the greenhouse.


As it turns out, she had unsuccessfully attempted to get some peanuts outside the caging using a toy rake. The handle was just slightly too big to reach out to the peanuts.


The bamboo stick was a little too cumbersome, so Jamie needed to tweak it a bit. First she broke it in half, and then she removed some of the branches.




Now that she designed the perfect tool, she could reach the peanuts!





Cle Elum Wildlife

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

As many of you know, our beloved (and sometimes troublesome) resident elk, Ellie, has made it a very well-known fact that she is in fact a horse. Or a cow. Or a goat. Or a human! But certainly not a wild elk. Despite her outward friendliness, we still keep our distance—she is still wild, after all, and ideally we would love for her to be more wild and less attracted to sticking around humans.

Today, Elizabeth spotted Ellie up on a high hill to the south of the sanctuary property. We both laughed, saying “what is Ellie doing way over there?” And then we realized, when four other elk followed, that wasn’t Ellie at all! We got very excited to see a small herd, which is sort of amusing when we see Ellie every day—elk really aren’t novel animals to us. But a herd! So exciting.




Unfortunately, Ellie was busy breaking into our compost bin—a very Ellie-type thing to do—so she missed the herd as they passed through. As much as we wish for her to be wild, we recognize that she is a unique being. She probably will always be more human-oriented because of how she grew up. Honestly, I’m not sure she would identify herself as an elk.


Imagine growing up with another species as your primary caregivers—you would undoubtedly have some sort of identity crisis. And though it is no one’s fault that Ellie was separated from her herd and ended up living at the farm next door, it’s definitely not the ideal situation for an elk.

For a chimpanzee, living in a human home is even more unnatural, and not surprisingly chimpanzees raised so closely with humans really struggle with their identity. Elizabeth wrote about “Burrito the misfit” the other day, and it’s so true. If he had been raised in an appropriate social environment, he most likely would be alpha male.

Some other “side effects” to being raised in an natural environment are Jamie’s love of boots and Foxie’s love of trolls. Though these are just part of everyday life here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, when you think about it for a minute, it really is quite odd. But they are all unique beings and all have their idiosyncratic tendencies. For Ellie, that means rummaging through things, sitting in Diana and JB’s garden, and taking perimeter walks alongside the humans as Jamie leads the way on the inside of Young’s Hill.

For Foxie, that means delighting in these sort of funny-looking dolls with big eyes, crazy colorful hair, and hard plastic bodies. Here she is in a calm relaxing moment with one of her dolls (you can see just part of the troll in the top picture—he/she is out of the frame in the others but was still in her hand).




Take Action Tuesday: Speak up for Eli chimpanzee

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

EOA take action tuesday

A few weeks ago, we alerted you to a new Comedy Central show called Big Time in Hollywood, FL, with reported footage of a chimpanzee in several scenes. We know now that chimpanzee is Eli, who lives at a training facility called Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife.

One of the actors from the show, Lenny Jacobson, identified Eli in an interview where he talked about the experience filming with a chimpanzee. He mentioned that the trainer on set was missing a finger from a chimpanzee bite—which isn’t shocking given the true nature of chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are very strong, and once they become too hard to manage, trainers will discard them at roadside zoos or pseudo-sanctuaries.


Eli’s trainer has a history of dumping former nonhuman ape actors at very decrepit facilities, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo. Eli’s trainers also have repeatedly failed to meet minimal animal welfare standards. (

There’s still time to act—the episodes with Eli’s scenes have not aired yet. Please send a polite letter to the producers and to Lenny Jacobson letting them know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees dressed up in clothing and in physical contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

Your letters do work! Another alert we sent out last month regarding a McDonald’s France commercial with Suzy (who lives with the same trainer as Eli) was pulled after they received feedback from Eyes on Apes supporters and other advocacy groups. Great victory! We hope to see Big Time in Hollywood, FL make the same progressive decision.

We’ve set up a sample letter which you can customize as you wish (click here). You may also post on the show’s Facebook page.

Missy now and then

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

I took this photo of Missy a few nights ago when she had joined Jamie for some “after hours” walking around the hill. I was trying to figure out why I love the photo so much (aside from the obvious cuteness of Missy from behind).

Missy bipedal from behind

Today, while on another walk, I think I figured it out – it reminds me of a photo we took a few months after the chimpanzees arrived during a big rainstorm. It was before there was a Young’s Hill and before there were greenhouse panels covering their original “outdoor area” that we now call the greenhouse. The outdoors and the elements were a whole new experience for all of the chimps, and, without the greenhouse roof that exists now, the rain was pouring into this area.

Chimpanzees don’t tend to appreciate getting wet, and all of the chimps stayed indoors for most of the storm, but curiosity soon got the best of Missy, Annie, and Jamie. Missy was first to look out the door into the still dripping outside world:

Missy in doorway during rainstorm

At the time, I remember how thrilled J.B. and I were that the chimpanzees were experiencing something brand new. We were thrilled that they were able to gather the courage to follow their curiosity. And we knew that this was  just one new experience in a whole line of new experiences they would be facing.

Still, I had no idea exactly what was to come into their lives, thanks to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest supporters. I had no idea that Missy would embrace the two-acre outdoor habitat that was just beginning to be a kernel of an idea for the future.

I had no idea that six and half years later, Missy would run with glee across the 2-acres everyday:

Missy running


Exploring her territory:

Missy walking



Satisfying her curiosity:

confident Missy walking

I can’t wait to see what Missy and her six friends get to experience next, and what the next six and a half years will bring to the sanctuary.



Jamie the walking machine

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

When Jamie first started her daily perimeter walks, it was usually just once or twice a day that she would ask us to accompany her (from the outside of the fence) around Young’s Hill. Now, it averages probably about seven to eight a day, maybe even more. She will ask each of her caregivers to go along at least once, but usually three or four times! She really has become a walking machine.

I think if the humans weren’t busy trying to clean enclosures, prepare enrichment and food, write the blog, and all the other things we do in a day—that Jamie would be asking to go on continuous walks non-stop. The other day, Elizabeth and I did a “walking relay” — I radioed her when Jamie and I were on our way down the hill so she could go wait at the gate (the starting point for these perimeter walks) with boot in tow. Jamie ran SO fast to meet up with Elizabeth and go on another walk!

It’s really awesome to see how excited she can be at times, because most of the time Jamie is all serious business. As Elizabeth mentioned yesterday, her moods can swing pretty wildly.

Here’s a couple recent pictures of Jamie on walks:




This one is from last fall, but I just love it.

Jamie looking awesome

The Circle of Caring

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Our primary objectives as caregivers in a sanctuary is continuously improving the well being of those in our care and working to make the world a better place for all chimpanzees. We strive to provide what our tagline says: hope. love. home… sanctuary.

It doesn’t take long to realize that all of this just ends up circling back.

The chimpanzees give me hope everyday.

Sometimes the problems the world is facing seem insurmountable. Sometimes I just want to go back to sleep when I open my eyes in the morning and think of the work that lies ahead. But then there are these seven chimpanzees who lived for most of their lives with no reason for hope, yet they didn’t shut down.

Even Negra, who was ripped from her home and her family as a baby and used as a test tube for over three decades – she survived. And she can now lift her head to the sky and allow the rays of the sun to warm her face, or curl up under a blanket and sleep peacefully.

Negra eyes to sky

Negra under a blanket

Nothing gives me hope more than seeing the chimpanzees thrive at CSNW.

And then there’s love. After what humans have done to them, these chimpanzees should be angry. It would be completely justified for them to rise up Planet of the Apes style and never trust another human. Yet, surprisingly, they do show affection towards humans.

It’s easy to see that Foxie is happiest when she’s making someone else laugh or smile. She often spots me from a distance and runs over just to have a little playtime.

foxie with new trolls


Burrito too. Just this morning, in between his a.m. displaying, he was stomping his feet and running through the front rooms to get me to play chase.

Burrito play face

burrito bite fire hose


All the love I try to convey to the Seven just comes right back.


These misfit captive chimpanzees could melt the coldest of hearts.



Jamie hug stuffed animal

That brings us to home. The sanctuary provides J.B. and me with a physical home, but, far more significantly, the chimpanzees and the people that they bring into their lives through their sheer force of charm has created a more remarkable sense of home than I’ve ever experienced.

I really just can’t get over how amazing it is to be surrounded by such caring, compassionate, funny, and all-around lovely people that make up the staff, volunteers, and supporters. And that includes a lot of people who I’ve never even met in person. The Seven are really quite good at attracting the best people to be a part of their lives.

Sanctuary. It’s a word that is often misused, but it truly applies to this place. And, as I’ve learned, the spirit of true sanctuary is circular. Thank you for being a part of it.

Sweet Annie:


Adventurous Missy:

Missy leaping

Jody – taken this afternoon:

Jody with eyes closed




Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

As we’ve mentioned before, chimpanzees are very territorial and it’s within their nature to defend their home against strangers. In order to be intimidating, they will usually stand up on their legs, swagger, and their hair will stand on end (pilo-erect). Then, they usually bang something, vocalize, or otherwise make some sort of threatening noise. Threat displays are just that—displays. It’s all just to show how scary they could be, if you don’t watch out.

Sometimes, dominant chimpanzees want to show the others in their group that they could be pretty scary if they want to be. It helps solidify their role as the leader in the group—the intimidation aspect strengthens their control. A dominant chimpanzee will occasionally display their dominance with no provocation at all (or at least, nothing immediately observable).

Here’s a video of exactly that, a display just for the sake of displaying. It doesn’t mean that Jamie is angry or upset about anything, it’s just something she does to remind everyone (chimpanzees and humans) that she’s the boss around here.

Dinnertime lounging

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Yesterday during dinner, Jody decided to relax a little in between courses. She would go out to the greenhouse, get her serving, and then take it to the front rooms to enjoy her meal without any distractions.

Sometimes the chimpanzees prefer to eat with more privacy, and will take their servings off to their own corner. Part of that might be to avoid getting their food taken by someone more dominant (which is completely normal in chimp society) — but partially I think some chimps just enjoy eating away from the hub-bub of the meal.

Still, some chimps will park themselves in one spot during a meal and stay there until everything has been served. Just another example of how great it is that in sanctuary, they can choose how and where to spend their time.