Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’

On the 7th Day of Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

We are the sum of all of our parts. For the past six days we have been sharing our gratitude for all of the amazing humans and organizations who give their support to the sanctuary in a myriad of ways. Each and every person we’ve mentioned, and I am sure so many more who we may never be aware of, has made the sanctuary and the lives of the chimpanzees what they are today. And for that we could not be more thankful.

On this seventh day of giving thanks, we want to share our gratitude for the heart and soul of the sanctuary and all that we do, the chimpanzees themselves. Words could never fully express the respect, admiration and love we have for Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra. We are thankful for the unique personalities that each of the chimpanzees share with us. The joy and laughter they bring to our lives and for making us smile every single day. We are thankful for the gift and privilege of their friendship and all that they teach us about forgiveness, strength, courage, healing and choosing to live each moment to the fullest. For being themselves, always, and allowing us into their world so that we can share that with others in the hope of helping other chimpanzees and primates. And honestly, I suspect I speak for all the caregivers when I say we are even thankful for the flinging of feces and spitting of saliva. How could that be possible? Because it’s one more moment that they get to express themselves just as they are knowing they will be respected, cared for and loved just the same.

We are profoundly thankful for each of the chimpanzees’ indomitable spirits and their ability to heal, forgive, and allow humans into their lives, in spite of what our species has done to them. Not because this makes us feel better or because it justifies in any way what they have experienced, but because it allows them some sense of peace and comfort and to experience life more on their terms, as it always should have been for them.

We are thankful for beautiful Annie’s sweet, gentle spirit and her new found ability to stand up for herself and her friends when it really matters to her. For her growing independence, courage and comfort in her own skin and the sense of freedom we hope this brings her after so much anxiety and fear. And for “Annie-bird” noises as she whistles into her hands and clapping her feet together which mean she’s relaxed and happy, raspberries and foot stomping when she gives us the gift of her attention, and to bear witness to the amazing friendship she has with her best friend, Missy.


We are thankful for Burrito and the heartwarming charm he so willingly shares with us just by being himself. For his place in a family of chimpanzee women who love him despite his boisterous displays and lack of appropriate chimpanzee etiquette and provide him a safe place in which he can figure out what it means to be the only guy among six ladies. And for the sound of his food squeaks echoing throughout the chimp house at meal time, for play faces, play stomps, play bows, and blanket tosses when he is feeling particularly playful.


We are thankful for Foxie and the sheer joyful exuberance she greets each day with. For the innate sensitivity she shows toward her fellow primates, human and non, and her ability to make all of us (even Jamie) feel better just by being herself. For the growing courage she finds to explore Young’s Hill in awe and for her ability to trust us when sharing her “babies” with us, knowing she will never have anything she loves taken from her again. And for back flips, pirouettes, kisses given while hanging upside down, the willingness to gaze into our eyes, her toes (!) and the toe tickling that comes with those toes.


We are thankful for Jamie and her astounding intelligence, willpower, and creativity. For the opportunity she finally has to call the shots and be loved and respected exactly as she is in each minute of the day. For walks around Young’s Hill and for the immense honor it is to accompany her on her perimeter walks and be included as part of her troop. And for “upside-down-Jamie-on-a-barrel” because it means she is happy, do-it-yourself Jamie who takes charge of her home, that she now feels safe enough to take naps and actually close her eyes and rest, and happy groans of pure joy when she receives a new pair of boots.


We are thankful for Jody and what she teaches us about the value of comfort, relaxation and taking care of oneself. For her ability to now spend each minute choosing exactly what feels best for her. For the sheer joy she receives from foraging for every wild plant she can find on Young’s Hill, for the way she “holds the door” and gathers everyone up until she makes sure all the chimpanzees have come in for meals, for her “dinosaur” groans when she is particularly happy about something she’s eating, for “happy baby” poses while lounging in her nest, for sometimes poking us when she’s feeling saucy, and for her earnest gazes and endearing “butt-bounces” when greeting us.


We are thankful for Missy and the fact that she finally has the choice to run to her heart’s content in every direction she can on Young’s Hill, laughing as she passes you by. For the athletic prowess which brings her so much joy after so many years living in a small cage with no room for her spirit to move. For her ability to wake up each day with so much joy that she and her best friend, Annie, play chase, wrestle and laugh like crazy before they are even fully awake. And for the leaping, spinning, swinging, jumping, and climbing. And for the way she gets us to “chase” her to the garden to ask for summertime tomatoes.

Missy balancing on fire hose

And we are thankful for Queen Negra and her ability to find joy and a position of respect in the companionship of her chimpanzee and human friends after years of solitude and depression. For the absolute pleasure she receives from the simple things in life like a nest made of sometimes over 30 blankets, the sun on her face, and days spent nesting peacefully by her window as she watches the valley below. And for hand claps when the servers are too slow, straw thrown in our faces when she really wants to get her point across, head nods of approval when we dance for her, the absolute joy she receives from night bags and for nuts and seeds on her belly as she enjoys those nightbags.

Negra looking at camera with night bag

On this Thanksgiving Day and always, we are ever grateful to all of you who provide hope, love, home and sanctuary to these seven chimpanzee people. We couldn’t possibly hold more love in our hearts for them and to know they are safe, loved, respected, and able to finally make choices in their lives is the best gift we could ask for. Please know that you all, in whatever form your support is given, make a difference in their lives.  From all of us at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

The chimpanzees’ Thanksgiving Day celebration is getting under way now so be sure to tune in tomorrow to check out the fun!!

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!

On the 5th Day of Thanks

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

This thanking business is so much fun!

Today we are sending loud, boisterous chimpanzee-style pant hoot thanks to all of the foundations and organizations who have supported the sanctuary with grants.

The sanctuary does not receive any government support. While the majority of cash donations to the sanctuary come from individuals, we have also been fortunate to have received private grants from some really incredible organizations and foundations.

Sometimes these grants are for specific projects, such as the National Anti-Vivisection Society grant earlier this year that helped pay for the back-up generator for the chimp house (along with a donation from the Youngs), the ASPCA grant that paid for the wildfire sprinkler system, and a Yakama Cares grant that paid for essentials (namely the rental of the port-o-potty!) for our Summer Visitor program.

observation deck

Often, grants are for general operating expenses. It’s difficult to express how affirming it is to receive grants, knowing that the granting organization has a limited amount of funds to distribute. Receiving grants for general operating funds can be particularly affirming because the grantor acknowledges the importance of the day to day care of the chimpanzees and the costs involved in operating the sanctuary.

Grants, just like donations from individuals, impart a responsibility on us to use the gift effectively and in partnership with the grantor.

We are very proud to have received, in the last year and a half, tens of thousands of dollars towards general operating funds from the American Anti-Vivisection Society, the Summerlee Foundation, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, the Tony Stewart Foundation, and grants from two foundations that are in the process of closing down. Earlier this year we were also incredibly excited to receive a grant from Bob Barker’s DJ&T Foundation.

All of these granting organizations support other amazing nonprofits, and we are so thrilled to be a part of their good works.

Just like individual donations, the chimpanzees have truly benefited from these gifts. It is difficult to imagine their lives of desperation before coming to the sanctuary, and there are not thanks enough in the world to express to those who have not only helped get the chimpanzees out of that situation, but who continue to support their new leases on life that allow them to be…


goofy like Burrito

burrito with stuffed fish




relaxed like Jody:

jody nesting

Jody nesting


and serene like Annie:

Annie serene

annie portrait fr4 1

On The 4th Day of Thanks

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW) could not do what it does without the generous support of such compassionate, caring and generous people. We cannot express enough how much we value and thank all those who are part of this sanctuary family. (Read more in the first, second and third days of giving thanks).

In the spirit of continuing to give thanks, I’d like to take this time to recognize all the folks who have made in-kind donations to benefit the chimpanzees and the sanctuary over the past six and a half years. In-kind donations are the direct donation of needed goods and services. They are vital to providing a safe, healthy and enriching environment for all the primates at CSNW.

Throughout the years, many folks have graciously donated their professional architectural and construction services to help transform the sanctuary into what it is today.


web shed glistening in the sun built by jim spencer IMG_1907

I also want to give a pant hoot thanks to those who have donated their professional graphic design and videography services and to all of those who have given items and gift certificates for auctions. These donations have been a tremendous help with our fundraising efforts and have helped share the stories of Jamie, Jody, Foxie, Negra, Burrito, Missy and Annie with the rest of the world.


Of course, the health of the chimpanzees is always top priority. I would also like to offer a huge thank you to those who have most kindly donated their veterinary services and equipment over the years to ensure the health of the Cle Elum 7.



Fresh fruit and vegetables is also of utmost importance in keeping the chimps healthy (and enriched). I want to be sure to thank those who have regularly gone above and beyond to ensure that the chimps have healthy food to eat each day.


Jody enjoying a mouthful of fresh cabbage.

Missy eating a bell pepper.

Have we mentioned that Burrito LOVES food!

Another huge thank you goes out to all those who have purchased items from our Amazon Wish List. While many of the items, such as laundry detergent, garbage bags, gloves, soap, stamps, and printer toner may not seem at all “glamorous,” they are essential to the day-to-day operations of the sanctuary. They help us keep our expenses down by providing things we need to operate and they help staff and volunteers do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.



We also include extra special gifts on our wish list like toys, puzzles, dolls, socks, non-toxic art supplies, brushes, etc., all aimed to enhance and enrich the daily lives of the chimpanzees. We regularly receive enrichment packages from people near and far. Items like kongs and tool sets have provided hours of problem solving for Jamie; while troll and dora dolls have helped Foxie gain confidence over the years.

And then there are the countless donations from those who know how to throw a party to celebrate all the holidays, birthdays or just-because days. What’s a party without festive cups, plates, piñatas or streamers? We also receive numerous donations that follow our enrichment guidelines including cowboy boots, blankets, magazines, paper, etc.


web Foxie walk trolls in mouth hand Young's Hill YH IMG_1344

Annie with pinata

web Negra outside sit blanket over body straw nest__MG_6702

Sometimes the words “thank you” just don’t seem to capture the immense gratitude we feel for all those who have offered these in-kind donations over the years. Know that your generosity has affected each and every primate (human and non-human) at the sanctuary in such a deep and meaningful way and will continue to transform the lives of Jamie, Jody, Negra, Foxie, Burrito, Missy and Annie. Without each and every single one of you, the sanctuary would not be what it is today.

On The 3rd Day of Thanks

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

In this week leading up to Thanksgiving, we are giving Seven Days of Thanks. We have so many amazing primates (human and non-human) to celebrate! (Check out the first and second days of thanks if you missed them.)

Today we want to thank our many volunteers – the incredible, selfless individuals who give their time to improve the chimpanzees’ lives. Caring for seven chimpanzees is more than a full time job, and it’s a job that our small staff of six could never handle on our own. Our volunteers find windows of time in their busy lives to dedicate to the chimps. Many have full-time jobs themselves (or are full-time students). Many come from across the state – or even from other states – to help us out. We are consistently humbled by their commitment, generosity, and spirit. Every single aspect of the chimpanzees’ lives is made better by volunteers.

Volunteers help ensure that the chimps are supported financially by helping out at fundraising and community events.

registration table

They help us expand and improve the sanctuary.

web_Volunteers working on hill Denice JB Seattle animal groups pole setting IMG_3291

web caregiver volunteer construction negra cabin condo yh _MG_9868

web_volunteer Steve Rick climbing structure Young's Hill construction IMG_0987

They help us clean up after disaster.

web_fire clean up JB caregiver brian volunteer tractor load burned log yh IMG_6415

They work to give the chimps a clean home…

web becca volunteer clean GH (ek) IMG_2084


…fresh blankets…

web jen matt volunteers fold blanket laundry (dm) IMG_2104

…interesting things to do…

web_Deb W. volunteer make enrichment christmas_MG_5086

…and interesting things to look at.


web volunteer kim mcandrews paint mural OA_MG_8708

They accompany the chimpanzees on perimeter walks to defend their territory…


…and even befriend the local wildlife.


They make sure the chimps always have fresh, healthy food by planting gardens…

web_Demice volunteer in garden IMG_7051


…and delivering produce donations.


They are some of the chimpanzees’ greatest supporters, friends, and advocates and we couldn’t be more grateful.


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:


Here’s Looking at You

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

I was taking a few close-up photos of Burrito enjoying his chow bag after lunch today, and he realized that he could see his reflection in the camera lens. He seemed pleased with what he saw.










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.

Kongs for Evening Enrichment

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Another one of our evening enrichment puzzles is putting nuts, peanut butter or mashed up banana into holes in kongs. The chimpanzees use their fingers or a tool (or a combination of both) to get at the tasty treats inside, but sometimes the treats can be pretty tough to get out.

Jamie spent the better part of the morning working on her kong that was left over from the previous evening. Evidently, there was a hazelnut that was trapped inside and she could not free it. She tried using all the tools at her disposal, including her finger, her tongue, the arm of a troll doll, and a short wooden tool. When none of them worked I offered her a hard plastic chop stick to use.