Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

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.


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!




These Eyes

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

These eyes have seen a lot in their 39 years:

Foxie looking


These arms have had babies torn from them:

Foxie with arms crossed


This body has been viewed and treated as nothing more than a tool to experiment with:

Foxie full body


This face is now loved by hundreds of people:

Foxie side glance

Foxie close up


This post is for the love of Foxie in recognition of where she came from and how far away from that life she is now, thanks to everyone who has cared. Learn more about Foxie on her web page and in this post.



Missy’s Green Pepper Play

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

The chimpanzees have had many bell peppers donated from a local grocery store lately, so today we did an exciting whole pepper forage on the hill!


Missy made a play for two of the peppers:



Jody made an attempt to force a turnover:



But Missy drove to the end zone:



Once the play was complete, she checked for injuries:



And then sat back and enjoyed her touchdown:




This post was inspired by one of the new personalized stones that is part of the Dr. Mel Richardson Memorial Walkway!

Jordan Hill Foundation

Thanks Jordan Hill!

Chimps and Dolls

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Chimpanzees are powerful, intelligent, adaptable, and sometimes aggressive wild animals. They do not belong in people’s homes as pets. They do not belong on training compounds used for television shows, music videos, movies and advertisements.

They belong in equatorial Africa where they live in large social groups, foraging and hunting their own food.

When that’s not possible, when where they belong has been taken away, and when they have been born into and grown up in captivity, a sanctuary is the best option for them. And sanctuary means taking the individual chimpanzees on their own terms and letting them find things they enjoy – things that may be very far from the image of the wild animals who they are.

For Foxie, that means dolls. It’s not that she is like a human child, or even that she’s using the dolls as substitute children (though maybe that’s part of it, given her history). Foxie has found something she likes, something that entertains and comforts her.

Foxie is still very much a powerful, intelligent, adaptable, and sometimes aggressive chimpanzee.

Foxie with red haired doll


And Jamie too. I can’t imagine too many things more silly than a troll scarf, but Jamie manages to wear a troll scarf while at the same time projecting the strong chimpanzee that she is.

Jamie wearing troll scarf

Jamie’s choice

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Jamie spent her childhood living with a trainer. Her records are scarce, but she was most likely used in some form of entertainment before being purchased for use in biomedical research at around the age of nine. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to see chimpanzees (or any wild animal) robbed of their natural lives, their childhood, and their family and social structures in order to provide so-called “entertainment” for humans. While we cannot change the histories the chimpanzees have experienced, or the fact that they will be in captivity for the rest of their lives, we do our best to provide them the space to be themselves, exactly as they choose in every minute of the day. A safe, dignified and loving home in which their “chimpanzee-ness” can come out.

We give the chimpanzees a variety of enrichment each day to keep their curious and intelligent minds engaged as much as possible, but whether they play with it, nest with it, tear it up or ignore it, it’s their choice. Jamie is highly intelligent and most likely as a result of her unnatural history, she is also very human oriented in her interests. She will often choose to use enrichment in ways that the other chimps don’t. But that’s the key – she gets to choose. When Jamie first arrived here she periodically chose to wear clothing that was included in enrichment, but over time her desire to do this has faded away and thankfully been replaced by chimp like activities such as walking the perimeter, playing with her friends, and being the boss of us all. But given her unnatural history, it’s only, well, natural that she would still incorporate things that are familiar to her in her play from time to time.

So while supervising the cleaning of her home from atop her barrel, this was one of Jamie’s choices:


An upside-down-Jamie-on-a-barrel is always a happy Jamie.


If you’d like to learn more about how you can help end the exploitation and abuse of great apes, please check out our advocacy program, Eyes on Apes, and sign up for our Take Action Alerts. Just as Jamie once did, there are others who need your voice.

To Be Known

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

This blog is a true labor of love.

It is satisfying, on a frivolous and somewhat shallow human-level, to have people like our posts and make comments. But in the world of the chimpanzees in our care, it’s a big part of their second chance in sanctuary.

To be known and respected and loved is what they deserve; what they’ve always deserved.

Sharing posts and hitting that “like” (or now maybe the “love” emoji) on Facebook may seem like a small act, but this is what allows more people to grow to understand and appreciate not just the chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, but chimpanzees as a species. It’s what allows hearts to grow and minds to change.

Sharing this post, these photos of Jamie, and taking the time to learn about the amazing and interesting person that she is, gives Jamie power.

Even though there’s no way to explain it to her, we know she would appreciate that there are people out there who have never met her who truly admire who she is, as she is. She would expect no less.









Thank you, Roni!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Roni Seabury! Roni is a long-time supporter and friend of the sanctuary. She is such a beautiful soul whose heart and life are filled with helping all animals however she can, from living a vegan lifestyle, to working with rescued farm animals, to sharing her home with her companion animals as well as fostering those waiting for their forever home. We’re so lucky to have her as part of our chimpanzee family. Roni shared this sweet message about today:

“For my love of Burrito’s shy cuteness, Missy’s energy, Jodi’s nest making skills, Annie’s playful friendships, Negra’s Queen-like naps with blankets over her head, Foxie’s love for dolls and loyalty and Jamie’s boss like attitude with cowboy boots on. I love each of them so much. The amount of joy they bring me is immeasurable. Thank you for all you do for them.”

Roni, thank you so much for sponsoring today for the chimpanzees and for loving them for the special individuals they are! And thank you for your compassionate heart and your dedication to making the lives of so many animals better. We’re awfully glad you’re in the world.

Roni’s pal, Burrito:



web Missy run feet off ground young's hill YH IMG_5513



Annie (R) chasing Missy (L):




Foxie, Troll and Dora:



Jamie looking at camera holding boot

Chimpanzee Strength

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Chimpanzees are naturally incredibly strong. This physical strength, combined with their tendency towards sudden aggression that J.B. touched on in his blog post yesterday, cautions humans who work around chimpanzees to be very, very careful. This is why when you do a quick internet search on “chimpanzee muscle strength,” the resulting articles are often tied to a report on a human who was attacked by a chimpanzee.

The text of this article from 2012 after an attack is particularly helpful in providing information about why chimpanzees are so strong, explaining that the muscle fibers closest to the bones are much longer and more dense in chimpanzees than humans, presumably making those muscles much more powerful.

When the chimpanzees arrived at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in 2008, their muscles were atrophied or had never fully developed from lack of use, but all of the chimpanzees were still stronger (in many ways) than any of us humans could ever hope to be.

Jody Before

Jody on the day she arrived at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

I often wonder what it felt like to use those muscles exploring their new sanctuary home. To feel them engage while running and climbing and displaying, and then to feel their strength building over time.

chimpanzees climbing


It must have felt both strange and exhilarating.


Here’s a tribute to respecting chimpanzee strength with some muscle shots of each of the chimpanzees at the sanctuary:


Annie’s shoulders:

Annie walking


We got a clear  view of Burrito’s chest muscles after he was shaved for his medical exam this past summer:

Burrito bare chest


Even petite Foxie has incredible upper body strength:

Foxie close-up arm muscles


Hanging like this doesn’t take much effort at all by Jamie:

Jamie hanging


Jody’s certainly not the most athletic chimpanzee, but, when motivated, she uses those muscles to get her where she wants to go:

Jody climbing


Same with Negra – she doesn’t tend to exert any more energy than necessary, but she’s pretty buff even under her more “squishy” parts:

Negra arm

Negra climbing


And then there’s Missy, who uses her muscles, particularly her strong legs, as often as she can:

Missy tightrope

Missy's leg

The Winter’s Calm for One Chimpanzee

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

I think that of all of the seven chimpanzees at the sanctuary, Annie could be described as most like a poet. She can frequently be seen in serene moments by herself, seemingly lost in thought.

Today, while I was busy filming Missy in the greenhouse, I realized that Annie had been outside for quite some time alone, so I ventured into the snow to see what she was up to.

To highlight her inner poetic nature, I found this poem to pair with the photos of Annie below:

Winter is the slow-down
Winter is the search for self
Winter gives the silence you need to listen
Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors…
~Terri Guillemets


Annie snow background


Annie look away


Annie profile 2


Annie sit



Annie profile, arms crossed


Annie look camera