Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

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.





Spring is in the air

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Spring is here, which for this region means the weather is predictably unpredictable. Yesterday, we had a beautiful 70 degree slightly cloudy day—the chimpanzees and the humans were loving it! We had the windows open, we did some work outside, Jamie went on lots of walks, and it felt like summer was just around the corner.

Annie enjoying some of the nice spring weather lately:




Today is, well, not as nice. We have had some very blustery winds with a slight drizzle, but that hasn’t stopped Jamie from making her daily patrols! Most of the other chimps have preferred to stay in the warm wind-protected greenhouse, soaking in the spring sunlight.

What will tomorrow bring? No matter what, I’m sure Jamie will still make her patrols and require her caregivers to come along as well. And maybe Burrito will join and do his new “hop.” Or who knows—maybe even Foxie will come along.


Take Action Tuesday! Chimpanzee in new Comedy Central show

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

EOA take action tuesday

Tomorrow night, March 25, Comedy Central is planning to air a new TV show called Big Time in Hollywood, FL. The show’s previews contain footage of a chimpanzee in several scenes.

The show was produced by Ben Stiller, who we hope will respond favorably to your feedback — but please hurry! The show premieres tomorrow and we would like to encourage the production to make sure the chimpanzee scenes are not included in the premiere. 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.



Recently, A&E canceled the show Wild Transport after receiving feedback from Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups about the use of chimpanzees in their show. We urge you to encourage Ben Stiller and Comedy Central to make the same progressive decision for Big Time In Hollywood, FL! Send him a letter (c/o his publicist), and let him know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment. We’ve set up a sample letter below which you can customize as you wish. You may also post on the show’s Facebook page.


Sink enrichment

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Recently we got some toy sinks in the mail, and I knew right away Jamie would be interested. Sure enough, we filled up the sink with some soapy water, along with some dishes and scrub brushes, and she began her inspection.

First, she tried to take the thing apart. When that proved to be more work than she expected, she went to using the brush to dip into the bubbly water and wipe on her tongue. Mmm, tasty soapy water! (We use all plant-based, non-toxic soap, so it’s okay if the chimps decide to eat it).





Once she had explored the sink thoroughly, she grabbed a pencil and picked up the assembly instruction sheet we left behind.

Take Action Thursday: McDonald’s exploits Suzy chimpanzee in new ad

Thursday, March 19th, 2015


A recent advertisement for McDonald’s restaurants in France features Suzy the chimpanzee demonstrating trained behaviors, such as jumping up and down and making “funny” faces. Unfortunately, what Suzy has experienced–and what her future holds–is not funny at all.



Although chimpanzees may appear to have positive, loving relationships with their trainers, this can be deceiving. Trainers often take babies away from their mothers at a very young age and use abusive, fear-based tactics to get chimpanzees to perform. Undoubtedly this environment causes serious psychological harm.

Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife, where Suzy lives, has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards.


Suzy was the chimpanzee used in a Dodge commercial five years ago, which was altered after the company learned about the issues surrounding chimpanzees in entertainment. They took an innovative approach and using CGI, removed Suzy’s image from the original ad and changed the voiceover to mention the “invisible monkey.” Dodge also issued a mea culpa about the original commercial, explaining what they learned from Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups.

dodge invisible monkey

As Suzy gets older, her future remains uncertain. Martin has a reputation for dumping his former non-human ape actors at facilities with deplorable conditions, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo.

Unfortunately, despite reaching out to McDonald’s, we have not received confirmation that they plan to remove or alter the commercial. We need your help to put the pressure on McDonald’s! Please write a polite letter asking them to remove the ad, and pledge to never work with non-human ape actors again. You may direct your letters to Deborah Wahl (, a Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s.

You may also leave comments on McDonald’s France’s Facebook page or send a Tweet to @McDonaldsCorp.

Sample Letter to McDonald’s:

Dear Ms. Wahl:

I was disappointed to hear that McDonald’s France used Suzy the chimpanzee in a recent commercial for Spicy Chicken Wraps.

Suzy lives with a trainer who has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards ( Suzy’s trainer has dumped former non-human ape actors at deplorable roadside zoos, and as she is getting older, soon she will be too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Suzy, and others like her, deserve to be in a sanctuary. Help put an end to the use of chimpanzees in entertainment by removing the commercial and making a promise to never work with non-human ape actors again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.


[Your name here]

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

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