Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’

A whirlwind of years

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Today is about time flying by and some of the great random moments in the lives of the chimpanzees over the last ten years.

I’ve started and stopped this blog so many times today that I lost count.


There were toys to clean:


Laundry to do:


Amazing interns to train:


Paper braids for evening enrichment to be made (most of which were made by the aforementioned amazing interns):



And of course walks to take. Jamie was in the running mood today, so this quick snapshot was the only halfway decent photo I was able to get on one of our day walks:


Plus a whole host of other daily activities.


And then more walks after dinner! (well after I thought I would have this blog posted).

Courtesy of the unseasonably mild weather and the lengthening days, Jamie did three more walks after her evening meal, with Missy joining her for two of them.


This year’s HOOT! gala on May 19th will celebrate ten years of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees living the sanctuary life. TEN YEARS!

We are in the process of a website redesign right now. I’m really excited about a whole new look that highlights the great photos of the chimpanzees and hopefully makes it easy for people to be drawn in and fall in love with them. Here’s a sneak peek:

When the designers were starting to move the data over from the existing site into the new design, they ran into a snag because of the amount of content that we had in the blog. Ten years worth of photos, videos, and stories, it seems, takes up quite a bit of space.

I love that we have this diary of the chimpanzees’ days and the moments that were funny, poignant, and sometimes even mundane.

I remember being a kid and thinking that a week, or even a day (an hour?), was an excruciatingly long time to wait for something. I remember adults saying, “don’t complain – when you get older, time will fly by.”

Never were truer words uttered.

Lately, I feel like I’m in a movie montage – days pass by in seconds, and years are contained in just a minute’s worth of highlights. But then there’s this blog with all of these posts that mark real moments in time over the last several years. Moments that the chimpanzees were living to the fullest. Days that were spent with companionship, favorite foods, boots, trolls, blankets. Years that marked new additions to their home. Almost a decade of exploration into this new life they were given.


Here’s a look back on the last ten years of blog posts for January 20th (or thereabouts – we didn’t always post to the blog every single day – can you imagine!)


January 21, 2008:

not-so-shy Foxie


January 19, 2009:

Trolls: Not just for Foxie!


January 19, 2010:

Annie Upside Down



January 20, 2011:

Greenhouse play


January 21, 2012:

the snow days continue


January 20, 2013:

Floppy ears


January 20, 2014:

There’s something about Burrito


January 21, 2015:

Always a reason to play


January 20, 2016:

20 snapshots of the day


January 20, 2017:

Tool Use


And that bring us to today. Happy January 20th to everyone. Thank you for following along!


Whatever the Boss Says

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Volunteer caregiver Becca swung by the sanctuary today to drop off some produce for the chimpanzees. It was supposed to be a quick visit but as soon as Jamie spotted her, she recruited her for a couple of runs (runs!) around Young’s Hill. After the perimeter runs, a grooming session in the greenhouse was in order. Jamie eventually requested that Becca hand over the boot she was wearing, so she had to hobble back to the chimp house on one foot. We’ve learned to submit to Jamie’s rule and not complain too much.

Burrito’s 35th Birthday Bash!

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

As the video illustrates, Burrito was in high spirits today as we celebrated his 35th birthday. He is the epitome of being young at heart. Just when you think you couldn’t love him any more he does something else to irrevocably endear himself, like eating lettuce with never-before-seen abandon or practically jumping right out of his skin with excitement.




Happy Birthday Burrito from Kimberly Fleming!

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Burrito’s friend Kimberly sponsored today in his honor! It’s pretty difficult to believe that goofy, playful,  rambunctious Burrito is 35 today. He’s come a long way since he and the six female chimpanzees arrived at the sanctuary in 2008. He had a lot to overcome – you can read about his history on this page.

We are catering the day to him today and will post later about how we celebrated Burrito’s birthday in the way we think he would appreciate the most.

Thank you for sponsoring the day for the one and only lovable Burrito Chimpanzee, Kimberly.


Fashion Show

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Jamie loves to watch her caregivers model boots for her. Sometimes this process lasts ten or fifteen minutes. Jamie is by no means a passive audience – she lets us know which boot she wants us to put on which foot, and she makes sure we keep the fashion show moving at a steady clip.

Chimps: 7 – Humans: 0

Monday, January 1st, 2018

Last night, while the chimpanzees were all inside enjoying their sparkling cider for New Year’s Eve, I ran out to close the hill for the evening. With well below freezing temperatures, the sky growing dark, and Jamie inside, I assumed everyone was in for the evening. And then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye that took my brain a minute to compute. Low and behold Foxie had declined the New Year’s Eve festivities and chose to ring in the new year by having an adventure and foraging for snow treats!

Much to Jody’s horror…

Jody is such a good friend and patiently waited for Foxie, even venturing up the icy path to collect her at one point. Foxie wasn’t ready to come inside yet and sweet Jody headed back to wait for her at the entry to the greenhouse, slipping and sliding her way back down the path. Foxie stayed out quite awhile, seemingly watching the surrounding skies light up with the sunset and enjoying her time. Much to Jo’s relief, Foxie eventually made her way back, collecting several snow treats along the way and then she and Jody raced into the warm chimp house together. We all celebrate in our own way.


Earlier in the day, I was showing Jamie my winter boots with the YakTrax on. As one might imagine, winter shoewear is pretty exciting for Jamie. As we sat together Jamie kept gesturing, unsatisfied with the usual winter boots and Yakthax grooming, or even with me wearing her boots. It took me several minutes to realize she wanted to see the YakTrax on HER boots. Of course she did! She was so excited! Once she had a good visual of them she asked for her boots (thankfully understanding she couldn’t have the Yaktrax with them) and happily retreated to her nest with them.

Here she is sound asleep, her foot in one of her favorite new Christmas boots.

As for today, Kelsi and I arrived bright and early this first morning of 2018, arms full of goods for the chimps’ New Year’s Day celebration. But the chimps made it very clear from the start that today, we were doing things differently. Specifically, we were doing things Missy-style! All. Day. Long. During the winter, Missy is a bit infamous for choosing not to shift during the daily routine, meaning that she will sometimes choose not to leave an area so that we can go in and clean. So the humans adjust their routine or just wait it out.

In order to set up the party we needed access to the playroom, but it’s cozy, light and spacious in there and no one else was particularly interested in leaving that area either. And that’s great, it’s an example of the chimps getting to choose how their day goes. But what is a little more unique is that they’ve been choosing not to shift out of any area today! Bribes of gum, nuts, and even tiny tomatoes for Missy haven’t even swayed them! We were finally able to begin cleaning at precisely the time we normally finish the entire chimp house. So the human party plans were put out in increments or not at all. But the chimps seemed perfectly content with doing things their way and that’s what’s most important.

Jamie enjoying sparkling cider:

The chimps still weren’t interested in shifting out of the playroom for dinner in our last attempt to set up the party forage so instead enjoyed a full service dinner of black-eyed peas with cherry tomatoes, kale, baked onions and baked pears for dinner. To heck with spot cleaning. Maybe they thought since we had JUST cleaned, that was good enough. So we doled out extra blankets in the food chutes and switched up evening enrichment so we could pass it out.

As I write this, the chimps are hooting and hollering (led by ringleader, Missy) seemingly just for the heck of it. I like to think they are celebrating another year of freedom of having choices and freedom to make those choices as they deem fit. Freedom to call the shots in their own home. Freedom to change their minds. Freedom to be chimps. And really, freedom just to be. I think that’s what we all want to be able to celebrate.

Happy New Year everyone!

Today is dedicated to the chimps & those who love them!

Monday, January 1st, 2018

Kery and Terran, who also sponsored yesterday, spread the love over to today too.

Here is there message for the first day of 2018:

Here’s to NEW and EXCITING things to come! All the best in 2018!!! Hoots to all of YOU! Kery & Terran

Hopefully, you’ve all seen our State of the Sanctuary video. Just in case you haven’t, it’s posted at the end of this blog post.

As you’ll learn in the video, together, we’ll be working on lots of new and exciting things to come.

We so appreciate the chimpanzees, who provide inspiration every day, and everyone who loves them, including Kery and Terran!

Jody and Jamie kiss

Jody kiss Missy


All is calm, and today is sponsored by Kery & Terran

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Sanctuary friends Kery and Terran sponsored today, New Year’s Eve Day, with this lovely message:

“For the Chimps, the staff and the volunteers of CSNW. All is calm, all is bright. Wishing you much love and joy during this holiday season! Love & Gratitude, Kery & Terran”

We’re wishing you the same!

Here are some calm and bright moments with the chimpanzees from this year:


Jamie in her tunnel hideout:

Jamie sitting in tunnel


Negra sleeping while wrapped in a red blanket:

negra sleeping


Burrito and Missy grooming:

burrito and missy grooming


State of the Sanctuary

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

The current state of the sanctuary, in this moment, is a 100% chance of snow with Jamie spending the day with her books. She’s still thoroughly enamored with the Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary book and is also enjoying her new boot and shoe books.

I just snapped this photo of Jamie’s nest in the playroom:

Jamie's nest


She left her cozy nest long enough to throw me one of her new boots so that I could put it on and play a game of indoor chase for a few minutes.


For a bigger picture view of the State of the Sanctuary and the super exciting plans for the future, watch this video!

And then make a year-end gift to help us reach the goal of $20,000 raised in the next four days before the clock strikes midnight and the calendar turns to 2018.