Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’


Monday, August 31st, 2015

After a summer full of heatwaves in Cle Elum, we’re greeting this week’s cooler temperatures (and even rain!) with open arms. Today the chimpanzees have been making the most of the break from the heat and spending lots of time outside on Young’s Hill. While adventure is great, it’s important to mix in some quiet time here and there. Here are my favorite portraits of the day.















Nesting accessories

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile you are probably aware that we talk a lot about enrichment for the chimpanzees. Things for them to play with, nest with, investigate, use as tools, make projects with, encourage natural behaviors, or use for whatever comes to their minds. Even the best facilities for captive chimpanzees will never be able to fully replicate their natural lives in the wild. And chimpanzees, who experience the world in much the same way that humans do emotionally and intellectually, are going to get bored in captivity at some point, despite the best of care. Keeping their active minds busy and their days interesting is one of the biggest challenges we face as caregivers.

We provide a variety of items for the chimps each day and everything comes out each morning to be cleaned and is replaced with new items. For the humans, there are two enrichment calendars hanging in the chimp house, one for daytime enrichment and one for evening enrichment. Each day, thanks to Keri, our Enrichment Coordinator, notes a particular “theme” for the day and a particular food puzzle for the evening. For example for daytime enrichment it might be “trolls in socks” day, “yellow” day, or “garden” day. The themes are really a way for the humans to think outside the box and try to present the same things in a new and interesting way for the chimps.

The enrichment theme for today was “giant pile” meaning that after we cleaned the chimp house, we put their fresh blankets and enrichment for the day in a giant pile in the middle of playroom. The chimps each took turns collecting the items they wanted from the pile and went their way. Jody took her time and pulled together quite a array of items she needed to nest with. After choosing an armful of blankets, she found a paper bag and decided to make a lovely wadge as she looked out over the garden. A wadge is a ball of food or something fibrous that chimps like to place in their bottom lips to suck on.




Once Jody had her blankets and wadge situated, she chose the dolls she needed. She decided on two trolls and a Dora doll, sticking two in her pelvic pocket and carrying one. Then she headed upstairs to find a quiet corner to construct her nest.



But it can be precarious carrying all of that stuff upstairs and once Jody reached the loft, she dropped one of the trolls down below. Much to my surprise, she came all the way back downstairs, rescued the fallen baby, and decided while she was at it she should grab some more blankets. Then she headed back upstairs with another precarious load covering her head. It’s hard work gathering the perfect nesting accessories.



Happy Birthday, Missy!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

It’s hard to believe that youthful, exuberant, energizer-bunny Missy is turning 40 today. She might be in the running for World’s Most Sprightly 40 Year Old Chimpanzee. Missy makes us smile everyday with her enthusiasm for life, her legs that never stop running, and her complete devotion to her chimp family. Today, we celebrate her.

Volunteer caregiver Patti put together an 80s-themed party for Missy’s big day. Naturally this included leg warmers, socks, and sweatbands in neon colors (including a few for caregivers to wear), and homemade Rubik’s Cube pinatas. We firmly believe a party is not a party without streamers, so we decked out the greenhouse with those too. Fruit smoothie “shots” in Dixie cups, apples, plums, tomatoes (Missy’s favorite), and primate chow rounded out the celebration.
























For Missy, no day is complete without some serious adventure, so we scattered a lunch forage on Young’s Hill. And adventure she did:






To everyone who contributed to Missy’s party, sponsored today, or just sent happy thoughts to the birthday girl, thank you!

Happy Birthday, Martha!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

This day of sanctuary and birthday celebrations was also sponsored by Sandra Clardy in honor of Martha Faulkner’s birthday! Martha is such a wonderful friend to the chimpanzees and she does so much to ensure they have the lives they deserve. And we couldn’t be happier that she has chosen to celebrate her special day here with the chimpanzees by attending our summer visit program today!

Sandra, thank you for choosing to honor Martha by making a difference in the chimpanzees’ lives with such a thoughtful and compassionate gift.

And Martha, thank you so much for all that you do for the chimpanzees! From all of the primates here at CSNW, we wish you the happiest of days full of all that brings you love and joy. Happy Birthday!!

And special birthday pant-hoots from your pals, Burrito and Jody:

Burrito and Jody with bamboo

Birthday preparations for Missy’s 40th party are underway this minute so be sure to check back later today to see the festivities. We are so grateful for all that we have to celebrate today! Thanks to all of you for making such days possible!

Today is for Missy and the “Wagmanagerie”!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

There is so much to celebrate today and we’re so fortunate to have had two people sponsor this day of sanctuary! Our first sponsor, Martin Hollander, sponsored today in honor of his chimpanzee pal, Missy, on her birthday, as well as his human pals, Bruce and Deb Wagman, and their animal family, all lovingly referred to as “the Wagmanagerie.”

Bruce and Deb volunteer countless hours in countless ways to ensure the well-being and life long care of the chimpanzees. They are compassionate and generous beings who advocate tirelessly to improve the lives of so many animals. We are honored to have them as part of our chimpanzee family. Deb and Bruce, we love you guys and hope today is full of love, comfort and joy for you.

Deb and her buddy, Burrito:

web_burrito and deb play in tunnel IMG_0103

And we also celebrate beloved Missy as she turns 40 years young today! Missy is one of those amazing people who despite everything she has suffered, lost and endured, has opened the door to her life in sanctuary and run toward it. Figuratively and literally. She seems to embrace every minute of her days whether she is running across Young’s Hill or through the chimp house with utter joy and abandon, chasing her best friend, Annie, foraging for wild greens, racing her caregivers to the garden window to ask for tomatoes, or backing up her chimpanzee family without hesitation. She is such a special chimpanzee woman. We love you Missy! Happy Birthday!!


Martin, thank you so much for sponsoring such a special day and for all that you do for Missy and her family!

Check back shortly to learn about our second sponsor for the day!

Thank you, Christine!

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Christine Ponticelli! Christine, thank you so much for thinking of the chimpanzees and giving them a special day as they celebrate life as they choose. We hope your day is full of all that sanctuary means to you and is one that is full of the love and joy you help ensure for these amazing chimpanzees.

Sanctuary probably means more to the chimpanzees than we could ever fully imagine. But here are three of your friends embracing their lives:

Jamie, finally gets to call the shots on how, and with whom, she spends her time:

Jamie in the tall grass

Jody gets to explore and forage for her own wild snacks to bring back and enjoy in the comfort of her nest:


And Negra gets to discover a new definition for solitude, surrounded by loved ones in a safe and comfortable home to heal at her own pace:


You Can’t Please Everyone

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Our caregivers make a valiant effort to juggle all of the chimpanzees’ needs, personalities, and moods. Some days it goes better than others.

Nap time failures

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

When I was in kindergarten I “failed” nap time. After lunch we would all be instructed to get our personal mats out of our cupboards and lie down for a little quiet time. I clearly remember laying down my little rug and scootching up next to my friend at which point we would proceed to whisper and giggle, despite cues from our teacher asking us to close our eyes and rest. But of course, that’s what 5 year olds do, right?

Between a hot summer afternoon and full bellies from lunch, the chimp house has been still and quiet, all of us lulled by the warm breeze. Everyone grabbed some blankets after lunch and tucked away in a corner to nest and take a nap.

Here’s Burrito:


Well, almost everyone lied down to nap…Foxie and I were lying down next to each other whispering and giggling. I guess some things never change.




Happy Birthday, Arlene!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

If you missed it earlier in the week, the chimpanzees received the beautiful gift of a week of sanctuary, sponsored by Michael for Arlene in celebration of her birthday! Arlene, as today is your actual birthday, we want to send lots of birthday pant hoots, squeaks, and grunts your way. We hope your day is filled with all that you most love and if you need any ideas of how to spend your time, here are some suggestions from the chimpanzees:

Enjoy a peaceful walk, like Annie:

Annie walking in the tall grass

Burrito might suggest doing anything as long as it involves food:

Burrito eating breakfast night bag

Enjoying the company of good friends like Foxie (right), Jamie (left), Doras and trolls:


Jamie likes to spend quality time admiring her beautiful boots:


A relaxing day of yoga, Jody-style:

Jody doing "yoga"

Missy might choose anything involving an adventure:


And Negra…well, it’s pretty safe to say Negra thinks every day should be celebrated with relaxing in a cozy nest in a sunny spot:


Arlene, however you choose to spend your special day, we hope it’s filled with the hope, love, home and sanctuary that you and Michael so graciously help ensure for the chimpanzees. Happy Birthday!!

Keeping the nests clean

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Chimpanzees build nests when they go to bed each night, and sometimes during the day when they want to rest or play, and typically build a new nest each time. In the wild, chimpanzees construct arboreal nests, folding in the branches and leaves of the tree and making it into a bowl shape. Each individual sleeps in their own nest with the exception of mothers who share their nests with their nursing infants.

While in biomedical research, chimpanzees aren’t typically provided with nesting materials so they’re unable to meet this hard-wired instinct. I often recall a moving story Diana shared of when they first met the chimpanzees before their arrival to the sanctuary. She was spending time getting to know them and handed them small pieces of newspaper through the caging. Most of the chimps began using it to nest with straight away, particularly Negra and Jody. There’s no way to know whether Negra and Jody retained this behavior from their days as infants living in Africa with their mothers, or if they had been given materials to nest with at some point during their 30 years in the labs. Whatever the case, it’s always amazing to me that as soon as the chimpanzees are provided with the opportunity to engage in their natural behaviors, they embrace it.

Here at the sanctuary, we made the decision to offer the chimpanzees as many blankets as we could feasibly wash and dry each day. At current count, they receive at least 60 fresh blankets a day to nest with. Just like us, they love fleece blankets for their cozy factor, and at the same time they are easy for us to wash and dry quickly. As you can imagine, that is a whole lot of laundry to do each day! A few years ago, we were graciously gifted with a washer and dryer from beloved supporters, “The Wagmanagerie,” and they’ve been running like champs for pretty much 7-8 hours a day, 7 days a week. They were amazing despite the heavy demands placed upon them, but have definitely begun to show their wear and tear. So we couldn’t have been more thrilled when supporters Ross and Karen Barde purchased a brand new washer and dryer for the chimp house! And And they just arrived yesterday! Ross is also a chimp house volunteer so he’s no stranger to the mountain of blankets we wash each day.

Behold, the shiny and new gifts!!:


Each of the chimps has their own style, often weaving in favorite items or snacks, and some use more blankets than others. We have found as many as 20-25 blankets in one nest! Here are a few examples of nests we found this morning while cleaning so you can get a sense of how many blankets they enjoy using:


Negra’s nest in front of her sunny window overlooking the valley:


Jody’s nest with a guest:


Our new washer and dryer are a larger capacity and we were done with laundry a couple of hours early today. And you know what the best part about that is? Now we can give the chimpanzees even more blankets! I think Jody’s yawn from her nest says it all:




Ross and Karen, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and the bottom of the chimpanzees’ nests, for your generous gift!! And as we continue to celebrate the gift of a week of sanctuary sponsored by Micheal in honor of Arlene’s birthday, we can’t think of better timing to be able to offer the chimpanzees even more comfort. We are so full of gratitude for all the support that allows us to make every day better than the last for these seven amazing and deserving chimpanzee people.