Posts Tagged ‘animal rights’

Roasted pears on snow, a delicacy

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

‘Tis the season for roasting and baking foods for the chimpanzees! They’ve had baked sweet potatoes almost everyday this week and they LOVE it! Food squeaks echo throughout the chimp house when they see the caramelized glaze on the potatoes. Yum! We’ve been experimenting with roasting some other foods, too, to mix things up a bit. Beets, carrots, and pears have all been a huge hit.

Today volunteer Sandra and I baked some pears with the plan to put a couple out as a forage after we cleaned the chimpanzees’ playroom. Here’s the before and after shots:



I turned off the oven well before we were done cleaning but the pears were still pretty hot when it was time to set up the forage. So we came up with a nice way to cool them off—use them as a topping on some snow!


Sandra filled bowls up with fresh snow that fell this morning and scattered bits of roasted pear on top. All the chimpanzees huddled around the door as we set up the forage, pant hooting and food squeaking with excitement.

Jamie did not hesitate in grabbing as many bowls as she possibly could. Luckily we scattered many bowls around so everyone got to have a few, but Jamie got the biggest haul. It also helped that she used a box as a collection device. She pulled her box around and added bowls to it as she went through the playroom, as a sort of shopping cart.



Once she had collected everything she could, she sat down to enjoy her snow and roasted pear snack.





Ebola and Great Ape Conservation

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

There are many questions about how this year’s Ebola outbreak started, how it spread so quickly, and how to prevent it from spreading further—but what does Ebola have to do with non-human great ape conservation?

It is known that Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever is transmitted by coming into direct contact with bodily fluids of someone infected and showing symptoms of the virus, a cadaver of someone who died from the virus, or the fluids or meat of an infected animal.

Bushmeat is the meat of any non-domesticated animal that is consumed by humans. In Africa, bushmeat is not only consumed locally, but it is exported worldwide. Many bushmeat species are endangered, in which cases the hunting of those species is illegal. Still, these animals are hunted, and their meat is sold on the black market and exported to other countries, including the United States. No one really knows just how many pounds of illegal bushmeat are smuggled into the U.S., because it is believed only a fraction of the imports are confiscated—but estimates range from hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds per year.

While habitat loss is the largest long-term threat to African ape populations, hunting for bushmeat has risen in the last couple of decades as the most significant immediate threat—and could cause species extinction if the practice continues to grow. However, with the emergence of the deadly Ebola virus, more people have begun to tune into the problem. Though research shows that fruit bats serve as hosts to the Ebola virus and are believed to be the direct source of the current outbreak, consumption of infected ape meat has been linked to previous outbreaks since the late 1990s. Primates and other animals can become infected by eating half-eaten fruit that have come in contact with fruit bat saliva, and the virus is passed to humans who eat infected animal bushmeat.

The Ebola virus can also be detrimental to wild ape populations. In 2002, over 5,000 gorillas died from an outbreak. In fact, the threat of imminent Ebola outbreaks (and other pathogens) on already dwindling populations has prompted researchers to propose developing a vaccination for the apes. Before vaccines could be administered to wild apes, however, some researchers feel they would need to be tested on captive apes. As we know, there is a push to end the use of chimpanzees in research altogether, so the topic sparked a debate earlier this year (read more on that here).

The Ebola scare has also left African sanctuaries in a predicament, such as Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone—one of the affected countries.




The travel limitations and general panic about the disease have kept people away from the country, and the lack of outreach opportunity has hit the sanctuary and others like them hard. Additionally, with travel restrictions in the affected countries, it is harder for volunteers to help with the day-to-day work. The sanctuaries have had to hire more local staff, causing their funds to be stretched thin. Recently, the Chimpanzee Conservation Center in Guinea has been impacted by this trouble as well. Thankfully, no apes in sanctuaries have contracted Ebola, and all the caregivers have been taking extra hygiene precautions to make sure everyone stays healthy.

Though the direct threat to great apes from Ebola is reason for concern, it’s possible that the attention on Ebola could have a positive impact on ape conservation and help prevent future outbreaks in human populations. Unlike other pandemics and deadly pathogens, which are able to sustain in human populations long-term, Ebola is a unique virus in that it comes and goes sporadically in humans in the form of destructive outbreaks. So far these outbreaks seem to have originated from human contact with infected wildlife. With effective education in local communities, and efforts to take legal action against logging, prevention of hunting and eating bushmeat can save countless lives—of both human and nonhuman apes.




Off-balance or perfect ten?

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

We’ve had some beautiful, sunny, blue sky days this weekend which is unusual for this time of year, and Jamie is certainly taking advantage of it. Diana and Jamie went on at least six walks yesterday! Missy joined a couple of times, but of course opted to run at full speed while Jamie kept to more of a saunter.



Then Missy decided to sprint toward the log bridge as if it were a vault, and she appeared to lose her a balance a little bit. Or maybe she meant to hurdle herself in that way, and it was actually an intentional landing. So, the question is, did Missy lose her balance or did she totally stick that landing? Let us know what you think in the comments.



From scrawny to brawny

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

When the chimpanzees first arrived at CSNW six and a half years ago, they were frail, weak, almost sickly ghosts of themselves. Through the years we have seen their once physically and mentally deprived selves transform into thriving, healthy, and fit chimpanzees full of personality.

The other day Jamie was sitting on a step in one of the front rooms and it struck me how strong her thigh muscles have become from her daily perimeter walks. It’s really very impressive!


She’s really come a long way. These photos from the first days in sanctuary really highlight her fragile, atrophied leg muscles.


In this photo you can see not only how scrawny and skinny her legs look, but also how much she plucked her hair from her belly while in the lab, likely due to sheer boredom:


Sanctuary has provided Jamie the opportunity to patrol her territory, stretch her legs, and keep her mind active. Her life now is full of so much enrichment—both for mental stimulation and physical activity—that she doesn’t get as bored as she used to.

Of course, captivity is not perfect and Jamie still does pluck her belly every now and then, perhaps because it became a habit but also possibly due to periods of boredom. No matter how great we make her environment, we can never recreate the life she and all captive chimpanzees should have had in the wild. But for Jamie, the next best thing is taking walks around Young’s Hill while her caregivers follow along on the other side of the fence—always with at least one of her favorite boots, of course!



web Jamie boot walk bamboo background IMG_0933

Thanksgiving Eve (the 6th day of thanks!)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

This week we’ve expressed our gratitude for everyone who plays a part in helping Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest fulfill its mission. Staff, board members, and volunteers are integral people who dedicate so much of their lives to helping the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees. In-kind donations of services and goods help us stretch every dollar we can, and grants and foundations help us complete big projects. But you—our donors—are literally the heartbeat that keeps the sanctuary pumping.

Donations have forever changed the lives of the Cle Elum Seven with projects like Young’s Hill and the on-site mobile veterinary clinic. Not only do donations contribute to big projects, but they keep the sanctuary going day-to-day. As JB wrote about last week, staff members are devoted, long-term friends and caregivers of the Cle Elum Seven, and they keep the outreach and volunteer programs going as well as working on development and operations. Your donations bring our hard-working team together to make CSNW the best possible home for the Cle Elum Seven and an all-around amazing organization.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, we want to take a minute to reflect on how far we have come with your help, and how your role will take us so much further. We simply cannot ever express with enough gratitude how appreciative we are for every dollar that is given, and every minute someone spends telling their friends and family about why they support Annie, Negra, Jody, Jamie, Burrito, Foxie, and Missy.

It’s hard to put into words the impact that all our donors have had on the lives of seven very special beings. Perhaps words can never truly express the importance you’ve all had in their lives, but maybe these “before and after” pictures can illustrate that effect.













The outpouring of support during the last six and a half years is evidence that our donors really do have the biggest hearts, and it is because of you that the Cle Elum Seven finally have a second chance at life.

Your donations have given Burrito hope.

web Burrito look up sun in face clear sky YH IMG_1043

You’ve given Foxie love.


You’ve given Missy a home.

web Missy wrapped up in blanket nest greenhouse GH IMG_0816

You’ve given these chimpanzees the sanctuary they so deserve—and for that, we thank you!

Bobbing for apples

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

It’s fall time and that means apples are very plentiful. Today we decided to let the chimps bob for apples! We filled buckets with water and added small whole apples. As predicted, no one really “bobbed” for their apples—they just used their hands :) But they definitely loved the forage—food squeaks were echoing through the chimp house as we scattered the buckets around.

Jamie in particular loves whole apples and she gets very excited whenever we include them in forages. Today was no different, and she was sure to get her share (and then some!) But everyone else enjoyed the forage as well.






After all that foraging, Jamie curled up for a nice nap in the sun:


Take Action Tuesday: One Direction’s wrong turn

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

EOA take action tuesday

Last month, we sent out an action alert about the band One Direction’s new music video with a chimpanzee named Eli. Several advocacy groups, experts, and supporters from around the world wrote to the band, but so far we haven’t heard any kind of commitment from the boys to avoid working with apes in future productions. Since their new album is releasing next week, we want to continue to put pressure on the band and ask that they make the pledge before their album release—and until they do, we will spread the word to fans and tell them not to buy the album.

Many of our readers are aware of the tragic lives of chimpanzees in entertainment—chimps like Jamie, for instance, live with trainers when they are young and when they are too big to be managed, they have to live inside a cage for the rest of their lives. Jamie is lucky to have reached a sanctuary, but many others have not had that chance. Some of Eli’s trainer’s former chimp “actors” have been cast off to decrepit roadside zoos. The trainer himself, Steve Martin, has been cited numerous times for things such as failure to have an environmental-enhancement program to promote the psychological well-being of primates, failure to supply adequate shelter from the elements and inadequate ventilation, failure to provide animals with minimum space, filthy cages, and improper feeding.


We’re so disappointed that the One Direction band members are promoting the exotic animal trade rather than using their celebrity statuses to protect chimpanzees, who are critically endangered in the wild.

We urge you to continue to put pressure on One Direction to remove the photos and promise to never use apes again. Please post on their Facebook and Twitter pages and let them know that chimps like Eli should not be used in entertainment. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees in close contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

You may also send a letter to the band c/o Lisa Wolfe at

Sample Comment on One Direction’s Facebook:

I am disappointed to see that One Direction went ahead and included clips with Eli in the Steal My Girl video, despite hearing from concerned advocates. Chimpanzees do not belong in music videos and you should know that Eli’s trainer is cited for dozens of animal welfare violations ( Showing these images perpetuates the idea that chimps make good pets. Please make the compassionate decision pledge to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. I won’t be buying your new album until you make that promise, and I’ll tell all my friends to do the same. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sample Tweets to One Direction:

@OneDirection sad to see Eli in #StealMyGirlVideo. I won’t buy your new album until you pledge to never use apes again!

@Louis_Tomlinson @zaynmalik Eli had a nasty chain on his neck in the #StealMyGirlVideo pics! Please promise you won’t work with apes again.

We would love to see Eli and all remaining chimpanzees in entertainment reach a sanctuary, so they can receive the lifetime quality care they deserve and get a second chance at life like Jamie. We’d love to hear stories about sanctuary life someday for Eli and others like this one of Jamie:

This morning, new volunteer caregiver-in-training Lizz kept Jamie busy for quite awhile by dropping a piece of banana just outside the fencing. Jamie first used a magazine, but when that didn’t help much, Denice gave her a plastic tube which was much more helpful. Once she got the banana up against the fencing she used her fingers to delicately move the banana to spot where she could pull it through. We’ve talked a lot before about Jamie’s knack for projects and keeping busy, but when she’s not working on various projects—she’s quite talented at nest-making, and consequently, nap-taking.



The final thing you can do to help Eli is to spread the word! Please share this blog on social media and encourage your friends to speak up for him, too.

Taking in the view

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Negra spends a lot of time in front of windows. She has a few spots that she seems to have claimed as her own, all with great vantage points for watching the goings-on of the sanctuary property.

Her usual spot is in the catwalk in the playroom—from that window she can watch the cows, horses, goats, and elk wander about, the humans walking around the hill with Jamie, the cars drive along the highway, and the train go through the river canyon below. It’s a pretty great view so I understand why she spends a big chunk of time watching from there. Another spot she has claimed is in the corner of the greenhouse by the Young’s Hill raceway, which is actually the same view as her catwalk spot.

To get a look at the other side of the property she has a spot in front of the highest window in the loft area, and the same view can be seen from the window immediately below the loft, in one of the front rooms. This is the first place the chimpanzees had a chance to look outside when they first arrived at the sanctuary.

When I found these photos below on our computer from a couple weeks ago, the look in Negra’s eyes as she gazes out the window is all I could think about. And it made me think about the day the chimps first arrived. Though I wasn’t here that day, I anxiously waited for this very special blog post announcing that the chimps were in their new home (with a picture of Negra at the same window) and one from the next day including a video of Negra leaving her transfer cage, entering her new home, and greeting Sarah.



We can’t ever know what must go through Negra’s mind as she’s gazing out at the valley below, or watching staff, volunteers, visitors, or delivery people come and go from the other side of the building. Whatever it is she’s pondering, I would imagine it’s much different than when the chimps first arrived. Those first few days I’m sure it was thoughts of wonderment, curiosity, and even fear of the unknown. I hope now that her thoughts are more about what she might see Ellie up to today, or who’s walking up the driveway to visit, or how long the train will be this time.

Evening Enrichment

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Each day we put out various enrichment items for the chimpanzees based on some sort of theme like “tea party day” or fort day”. These enrichment items include things like blankets, dora and troll dolls, boots, wooden and plastic toys, containers etc. This way the chimps can choose to use or not use the enrichment items throughout the day.

Each evening, after serving dinner and before turning out the lights, we also give the chimps some sort of puzzle to work on. The evening enrichment is aimed at keeping the chimps (mostly Jamie) occupied. The evening enrichment sometimes includes kongs with a few nuts inside, raisin boards, hanging puzzles, drink buckets.

Last night, we put out drink buckets for the chimps. This involved filling each bucket half full with water and adding in a few slices of tangerines (other nights we may use slices of lemon or lime). We set the buckets outside of the front rooms and playroom and gave each of the chimps a long “straw” to use to get at the flavored water.