Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’

Testing Testing…123

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Hello to all the CSNW blog readers! My name is Anna Wallace and I’m the newest staff caregiver to join the team. I’m really excited to be going through training here and getting to know more about the Cle Elum 7! Today, as you may already know, is my first blog post. Not only is it my first blog post, but it is also my first time taking photos of these very photogenic beings. I thought I would share with you my favorites from the series of pictures I took this afternoon under Elizabeth’s watchful guidance.

Negra and her droopy lip.

Handsome Mr. Burrito, lounging in the portrait studio.

I hope to share many more photos and a more detailed account of my training in the weeks to come!

Foxie’s evening

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Each night after dinner the chimpanzees receive their food puzzle for the evening. This is typically a pretty exciting time and once everyone has their puzzle they find a quiet spot to enjoy their treats in peace and the chimp house begins to wind down for the day. This evening’s puzzle was frozen applesauce and banana in PVC tubes and I caught Foxie enjoying hers:



When the chimps finish their food puzzles, they usually head straight to their chosen sleeping spot for the night, blankets in tow, and begin making their nests (with the exception of boss Jamie who still has a lot of things to do). But this evening, Foxie decided to hang out as we finished the closing routine and seemed to be enjoying the peaceful time, occasionally glancing out the window next to her as the sun began to sink lower over the sanctuary.







About this time we gave Jamie her “boot package” for the evening. Jamie often requests her favorite “boots du jour” before we leave which we fill with enrichment items for the evening (such as a toothbrush, cup, comb, nail file, scarf, etc) and pass to her through a chute. As she also requested the boots she had me wearing at the time, I happened to be barefoot. And at the sight of bare human toes, Foxie thought it would be a fantastic time to play one last game of chase, interspersed with pirouettes, through the chimp house (never mind that people were settling down to sleep).

After a few minutes of play, we said goodnight to everyone and turned off the lights in the chimp area, answered by the chimpanzees giving nest grunts goodnight in return. Nest grunts are a vocalization that chimpanzees make when they are settling into their nests for the night as a way to check in with each other before they go to sleep. (Admittedly, it’s one of my absolute favorite moments of the day).

As I was closing the door to the chimp area I saw Ms. Foxie head out to the solitude of the greenhouse. I went to say goodnight and found that she had decided to camp out on the top platform, looking out over Young’s Hill, as she held Dora (with some wild hair) close to her. Goodnight dear Fox.


Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Rachel Ruggeri! Rachel recently sponsored a day of sanctuary in memory of her father, Robert. And today she generously chose to celebrate her own special day with the chimps and sends this message: “It is my birthday and since the chimps sent me a card, I want to send something to them!”

Rachel, it means so much to us that you have chosen to mark these special days in your life by making the chimpanzees’ lives better. And it means the world to them. All of the primates here at CSNW wish you the happiest of birthdays and hope your day is filled with all the love, compassion and joy you share with others!



Today is in memory of Robert Ruggeri

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Rachel Ruggeri in memory of her father, Robert Ruggeri. Rachel shared this note about today: “My father, who passed away on 7/25/13, loved animals big and small. We miss him dearly.”

Rachel, thank you so much for including the chimpanzees in remembering your father, Robert, today. You have both made a difference in their lives. All of us here at CSNW are so sorry for your loss and we are touched to be able to play a small part in honoring his life. What a lovely thing that he and love of animals continues to live on through you. We are all holding you and your family in our thoughts today.




Making Friends

Monday, July 20th, 2015

New staff caregiver Anna is busy making friends with the chimpanzees. Some of the chimps warm up to new people right away, and others take their time. It’s a piece of cake to win over Burrito; he just wants someone who will play with him 24/7.

Today is for Derek Johnson!

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Andrea Ogg in honor of Derek Johnson! Andrea surprised Derek with this special gift last Christmas and shared the following message about today: “Derek has spent a significant portion of his adult life studying, caring for and about chimpanzees. We will be coming to the sanctuary on July 11, 2015. We can’t wait to “meet” your chimps!”

Andrea, what a wonderful gift to give for both Derek and the chimpanzees! That it is complimented with your attendance of our summer visit program makes it even more meaningful and we are so touched that you would think of the chimpanzees in honoring Derek today. Thank you so much for caring about the chimps and making a difference for them.

We look forward to your visit and hope you both have a wonderful day!

Our guy, Burrito:



In memory of Ned and Noreen O’Flaherty

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Today was sponsored by Joan O’Flaherty in memory of her parents, Ned and Noreen O’Flaherty, and their wedding anniversary. Ned and Noreen were great advocates for animals and conservation and we are honored to have them remembered here at the sanctuary.

Joan, we are so touched that you choose to honor your parents’ memory by helping to ensure the chimpanzees lives are all that they deserve. In remembering Ned and Noreen today we hope that the knowledge of the difference you, as well as they, have made to the chimpanzees brings you the comfort and joy that it does the chimps. We are very thankful and will hold you all in our thoughts today.

Burrito and Negra:

Burrito Negra look at camera

The gift of Annie

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

For weeks, no, months, I have had the idea to do “A Day in the Life of…” each of the chimpanzees on the blog. Seems simple enough, right? Well, when you consider each individual chimp, their moods and varying preferences for being photographed (let alone being followed around all day by a photographer), not to mention all the things that can occur during a day working in the chimp house, it’s not as simple as I’d envisioned. Case in point: Annie. Attempting to be systematic in my approach, I’ve wanted to start with her. Beautiful, dear, sweet Annie, who doesn’t always prefer to have her photo taken or is often running at mach speed with her best friend, Missy. So my idea keeps getting pushed to the back burner of the blog.

But I’ve found myself thinking of Annie a lot these past days because her son, Virgil, (who resides at Save the Chimps) celebrated his birthday this week. Annie gave birth to her first son, Tobias, when she was just a child herself, probably a mere 9 years old. In the wild, chimpanzees typically have their first child around the age of 14. But being used in the labs as a “breeder” Annie was forced to begin breeding with many males starting at the age of 7. All for the purpose of supplying more chimpanzees for biomedical testing. Over the next decade, Annie gave birth to six more babies – Abby, Petra, Brooke, Virgil, Mariah and Damien. Two of her children, Virgil and Mariah, who both are so fortunate to be living at Save the Chimps in Florida, are her only living offspring. Tobias (Chimp Haven) and Damian (Save the Chimps) were also fortunate to have made it to sanctuary, but have sadly passed away. Petra, we believe, passed away while still at New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), and sadly, we don’t have much information on Abby or Brooke, but believe they have passed away as well.

Annie was never allowed to care for her babies for more than a few days. In each case she was anesthetized and her children were taken from her and moved to the nursery to be raised by humans until they were, themselves, used as lab subjects. Chimpanzees are highly invested in the raising of their children, much like humans, and under natural circumstances chimpanzee mothers will nurse their infants until they are 4-5 years of age. Their bond is incredibly strong and often remains so throughout their lives.

One of the things I love most about looking at photos of the chimpanzees’ children, are seeing their mothers in them. In the gaze of their eyes, their smiles, the way they hold their body, or even certain mannerisms. To see that even though their histories are tragic, their mothers are there with them in some way. I love seeing beautiful Annie in her son Virgil (photo credited to Save the Chimps):




Annie’s history is devastating. To revisit it, however briefly, takes the breath out of me every time. Annie’s history is not unique to the chimpanzees residing here, nor is it unique to all chimpanzees who have suffered, or suffer still from a life in biomedical research labs, entertainment or the pet industry. But I choose to revisit it today not to feel sorry for her, but to celebrate her. To pay honor the incredible person she is. The internal strength and resilience of spirit that speaks to who she really is. Her ability to find joy in her life each day, to increasingly overcoming the sometimes debilitating anxiety she demonstrated when she first arrived here, and her finding enough comfort in her own skin to enjoy peace and solitude.

Annie’s ability to do these things never excuses what was done to, and stolen from, her. But she is not a victim. She is a strong, intelligent, resilient, sweet, gentle, loving soul. A sweet soul who took another step away from her past this morning and for the first time (with me) flopped on the floor and asked me to tickle her head and ears, laughing all the while. This amazing chimpanzee woman is a gift to us all. It’s a gift for her to be able to share herself with us and for us to be able to witness her healing. But more importantly, it’s a gift for her to live her life in peace, and to be her amazing self, each moment of every day. And none of this would be possible without you.

So in celebration of Annie (as she enjoys a tea party):



And goodnight from Annie, yawning from her nest at the top of the greenhouse. Out there all on her own, her eyes growing heavy as she looks out over Young’s Hill and the summer breeze occasionally ruffles her hair:


Learn more about each of the chimpanzees’ history on our Eyes on Apes page and celebrate the amazing and unique individuals they truly are.

Today is in memory of Jean Davidson

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored in memory of Jean Davidson. Today’s sponsor shared this lovely message about her gift for the chimpanzees:

“Jean was a wonderful friend who lived to celebrate her 100th birthday. She loved animals, and would have celebrated the seven chimpanzees I’ve fallen in love with!”

To our sponsor, thank you so much for thinking of the chimpanzees in honoring Jean’s memory. I think we would all hope to be remembered by our friends and loved ones in such a thoughtful and meaningful way. It’s incredible to think about the difference each life makes. The people one person can bring together in the most unexpected ways and whose life continues to make a difference to so many, even after they’ve gone.

In celebration of our sponsor, her dear friend, Jean, and of course, the chimpanzees, it seems fitting to revisit the joy that can only ensue with Burrito’s patented “Blanket Fling”:









Today is for Hope, Love, Home and Sanctuary

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

This day of sanctuary was also sponsored by our good friend, Kathleen Corby, in honor of two very special occasions. Today we celebrate both the honorary 42nd birthday of sanctuary royalty, Queen Negra, and the chimpanzees’ 7th year anniversary in sanctuary! Kathleen shared her beautiful and heartfelt sentiments about today’s celebrations:

“I would like to make two donations for the same day. One donation goes to NEGRA on her 42nd BIRTHDAY. Let me state that I do not have a “favorite” chimpanzee. I admire, respect, and care for each individual equally — quirks and all. But there is something about Negra. Negra instantly captured my heart and I never saw it coming. When I see a photo of Negra or read about her on your blog I often find myself with a catch in the back of my throat, a slight pang in my heart, (sometimes a tear in my eye!) and I experience this fuzzy little feeling. Ah Negra!

This year I want to thank Negra for giving me such pleasure and for teaching me that it is okay to take your time as you embark on a new path. She has shown me that trust, in others and in ourselves, should be afforded the time and nurturing it needs to blossom. Trust is very precious and the offering or earning of trust needs to be handled delicately.

Negra also taught me that you can never count an old gal out! This year she rallied with the best of them, finding new comforts in Foxies trolls and now in her “France Dora” doll. Negra has proven her bravery by venturing out onto Young’s Hill to forage, enjoying time alone in the tall grasses while eating and relaxing in the warm sunshine. I feel so very lucky to be able to witness Negra’s progress into her brave new world and I am grateful that at this stage in her life she has CSNW to allow her these experiences and freedoms. Happy birthday dear Negra. May this entire year unfold before you day by day offering new delights with the passing of time. XOXOXO.

My second donation is in CELEBRATION of the 7 years of SANCTUARY for 7 amazing CHIMPANZEES (and all the care givers, past and current, who make sanctuary happen)! Happy Anniversary to all. I look forward to the future plans of CSNW becoming a reality. On this day I celebrate your passion and compassion. Thank you for educating, inspiring, and connecting us all into one community of people who want to improve the quality of life for chimpanzees. CSNW truly is HOPE. LOVE. HOME. SANCTUARY. Much love always, Kathleen Corby.”

Kathleen, you have embraced each of the chimpanzees and welcomed them into your heart in countless ways. Though it may be from afar, your support and engagement in their lives, and in each step they take toward becoming more fully themselves, is inspiring. We are immensely grateful to have you as part of our chimp family and thank you so much for sponsoring such a special day full of celebration!

Happy Birthday, Negra! We love you!!

Negra close-up

And Happy 7th Anniversary Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra! May all your days continue to be filled with love, respect, joy and comfort. And may you live each day knowing you are home. We could not possibly love each of you more.








2013 Jamie