Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’


Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Luxuriate in the sun, play, repeat. Temperatures were at freezing this morning and the chimps spent a lot of time lined up along the catwalk of the chimp house luxuriating in the sunny windows and grooming and/or playing with one another. At one point, everyone was bunched together enjoying the warmth of the sun and one another.

Annie was particularly enjoying herself, stretched out in the bright light half asleep. But that didn’t stop her from a lazy game of toe grabbing (and nibbling) with her best friend, Missy:



(Notice Annie gently play-biting Missy’s toes) 🙂



Eventually, Missy gave in and decided to groom Annie, arm poised mid-air, basking in the warmth of the sun and friendship:


The Simple Things

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Savoring a creamy avocado next to a sunny window must be one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than sweet Annie.

The celebration for Vicki continues!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Today was also generously sponsored by Jim Horton in honor of his mother, Vicki Fagerlee, for her birthday! We are so touched by Vicki’s family who have come together throughout the day to celebrate Vicki and the chimpanzees who mean so much to her!

Jim, thank you so much for honoring your mother in such a thoughtful way! What an amazing gift to be able to make a difference in the lives of these seven special individuals as you all celebrate someone who is so special to you.

Happy Birthday, Vicki, from all of the primates at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with the chimpanzees and including them in your special day! We are so grateful to you and your family for ensuring that for all their days forward, the chimps’ lives will be full of love, family and home.

And since you share a birthday month with the boss lady, Jamie, I thought we should recall all the pumpkin joy this month brings. If the chimps could send you a birthday wish, they might say with any luck you have your own head stuck inside a yummy pumpkin right now! 😉 But we humans just hope you have something like a nice cake or anything made of chocolate that brings you equal happiness. 🙂


web_jamie hold pumpkin halloween birthday party playroom IMG_1170

Jody testing out Jamie’s past birthday pumpkin:

web Jody kiss pumpkin party playroom IMG_1184

web Jody bite pumpkin close up playroom IMG_1183

Negra and Jody:

web_negra jody full face eat food pumpkin halloween party birthday playroom IMG_1235





Jody and Missy:

web_jody missy kiss reassurance pumpkin eat food halloween birthday playroom IMG_1261



Burrito. Of course.

web burrito head in pumpkin halloween birthday eat food funny playroom IMG_1309

Happy Birthday, Vicki!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Mary Horton and family in honor of their mother, Vicki Fagerlee, for her birthday! Vicki is such a wonderful friend to the chimpanzees and we’re thrilled to celebrate her birthday here today! Mary shared this message about this gift in honor of her mom:  “There is nothing she would like better for a birthday gift than to help out the chimps.”

Mary and family, thank you so much for your generous and compassionate gift for the chimpanzees and Vicki! It’s easy for us to say perhaps, but when you look into the beautiful eyes of these seven amazing chimpanzee people it’s clear that the gift of sanctuary means everything to them. And as such, it does to us as well.

Vicki, we are so happy to have had the opportunity to meet you recently and are thrilled to have you as part of our chimp family! From our hearts, thank you for embracing the chimps, welcoming them into your life and making their lives better at every opportunity. All of the primates here wish you the happiest birthday yet! We hope your day is filled with all the love, comfort and joy you provide the chimps with, and I suspect so many others as well.




Foxie side glance






Negra close-up





In memory of Deborah Silber

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Anne Woodward in memory of Deborah Silber. We are so touched when people think of the chimpanzees in remembering their friends and loved ones. Anne shared this message about today:

“This donation is in memory of Deborah Silber, who loved all animals and was a big fan of CSNW.”

Anne, thank you so much for sponsoring a day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees in memory of Deborah. It makes us happy to know how much she cared for the chimps and that we get to share in celebrating her life. Your compassionate gift allows Jody and her family to enjoy their days in more ways than they could ever have imagined. And we can’t thank you enough for that. We hope today returns all that joy to you as you remember and honor Deborah today.

Beautiful Jody:


Jody close-up forage queen


The Boss Goes Solo

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Jamie is one of the bossiest people I’ve ever met. She holds the alpha position here at the sanctuary, but even for a dominant chimpanzee, she is a force to be reckoned with. She runs a tight ship; both the humans and the other chimpanzees at the sanctuary know better than to get on her bad side. After decades of powerlessness in research labs, Jamie seems determined to have things her way for once.

But Jamie is not a confident leader by any means. In fact, it seems to be her insecurity that causes her to overcompensate. She would probably earn a lot more genuine respect from the other chimps if she loosened the reins a little.

One of Jamie’s most important jobs as boss is to make sure her home is safe from intruders. She knows every time a volunteer arrives for a shift. She knows every time the UPS truck pulls up. She knows what the neighbors are doing.

Like her wild counterparts, Jamie goes on patrol regularly to check the perimeter of her habitat. She does this anywhere from twice to over a dozen times a day. She almost always requests that a caregiver go with her; she seems to just like the company, but it’s also likely that she’s a little nervous to go alone.

Lately, though, we’ve seen Jamie braving it on her own more and more. While we will always love walking with her, nothing beats seeing a strong, determined chimpanzee slowly become a strong, determined, confident chimpanzee.





Autonomy and Confidence

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Last month I wrote about “missing chimpanzee” Foxie, who has been doing a lot of solo exploring on the hill this summer. In May, Anna shared that Negra had been venturing out further on Young’s Hill than she had ever been before.

Well, we can add Burrito to this growing list of chimpanzees who have suddenly become more confident in the outdoor habitat.

As I was finishing up a walk with Jamie this afternoon, I came around to the front of the building and noticed the figure of a chimpanzee way up on the towers at the top of the hill. To my surprise, it was Burrito who was up there, walking across the shaky bridge, all by himself. I should mention that there was no food forage involved, so his motivation wasn’t tied to finding a snack.

I rushed up to the observation deck and got a few photos as he climbed down from the lookout and slowly walked back toward the greenhouse:




As I took these photos, I was grinning like a fool, and I called down to Burrito to tell him how great I think he is.

Like humans, chimpanzees experience varying degrees of anxiety and fear. In some ways, Burrito shows more anxiety than some of the other chimpanzees. It took him a long time to get comfortable in the greenhouse when it was first completed in 2010, even when the ladies were spending the majority of their time out there (read this blog post from Elizabeth from March 2010 and watch the video of Burrito finally making a breakthrough and spending some time in the greenhouse).

And now, this summer, five years after the chimpanzees were given the 2-acre outdoor habitat that we call Young’s Hill, they are still continuing to gradually embrace and explore their autonomy.

I wonder what they will be doing five years from now.


Missy’s 2nd Chance & Those Left Behind

Friday, September 30th, 2016

This year for Great Apes Giving Day, I decided to highlight Missy’s story. If you are new to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest or haven’t been following every single blog post, you may have missed the story of how Missy almost didn’t make it to her sanctuary home. Take a minute to read this story on our Great Apes Giving Day page here.


support Missy


There’s another story that we don’t tell very often.

The Cle Elum Seven should have been the Cle Elum Eight. There was an eighth chimpanzee living at Buckshire with Missy, Burrito, Negra, Jody, Annie, Foxie, and Jamie who died two years before the Cle Elum Seven came to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. He was a male chimpanzee and we believe his name was Ceaser.

I never met him, but I think about him, and what he represents, all of the time.

It is such an amazing time in history right now with the end of biomedical testing on chimpanzees in the United States. And it’s a frustrating time because there are hundreds of chimpanzees who are waiting for their opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in a sanctuary home where the only mission is to provide them with the best care possible.

And I know there will be chimpanzees like Ceaser who won’t have this chance because they will die before they are released from their laboratory life.

It’s a fact that not all laboratories are like Buckshire, where the Cle Elum Seven lived. Most modern laboratories holding chimpanzees have some sort of outdoor space, even if it’s a small concrete fenced in area, and most chimpanzees living in laboratories now live with other chimpanzees rather than in single cages.

I would guess that the majority of people who are directly caring for chimpanzees in laboratories really care for, and even love, the chimps. This may seem strange to those who have never met someone who works in a laboratory as a caregiver, but I have met many people who have held those positions in their past or still do now. Sometimes they didn’t really know what they were getting into, and they are awakened to the injustices of using chimpanzees in biomedical testing after they came to know the chimps in labs first-hand. Often they stay in those positions because they want to make a difference in the day-to-day lives of those under their care.

Philosophically, though, laboratories and accredited sanctuaries are worlds apart. How you view a person or an animal affects how they are cared for. For accredited sanctuaries, the one and only aim is to provide the chimpanzees with a good home full of choices and social interactions and the space to figure out who they are. For laboratories, even if they are not actively using the chimpanzees in testing, the chimps are valued and viewed in terms of their contribution (for which they did not give their consent) to humans and their research questions.

This is a fundamental difference; and it’s the reason why it pains me to think about the chimpanzees, like Ceaser, who will die in laboratories even though the research has ended.

And then I think about Missy, who almost didn’t have the last eight years of her life at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.




Every day is about making sure that the chimpanzees in our care fully experience a life that’s all about them. It’s our moral obligation to try to give back to them at least some of what we, as a society, have taken. And we want to be able to do this for other chimpanzees coming out of laboratories.

This is why fundraising days like Great Apes Giving Day mean so much to us, and to other sanctuaries and rescue centers.

Please consider making a donation to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, learn about all of the organizations participating in this global day of giving for great apes, and watch this Tuesday (October 4th) when the competition for the prize money heats up.

In the end, the chimpanzees and other great apes that you give your donation towards are the big winners.

missy sepia

Negra Unleashed

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

A few days ago was the five year anniversary of the chimpanzees going outside onto Young’s Hill for the first time. For many of the chimps, it was probably the first time they had ever been outside in their lives, and it took some adjustment.

Out of all the chimps at the sanctuary, Negra has probably had the hardest time adjusting. On her first day out, she accidentally touched the electric fence and received a shock. For someone who was already predisposed to feel some anxiety at being outdoors after decades in lab cages, this certainly didn’t help. For several months after that Negra refused to step foot outside. Eventually she decided to try again, but she wouldn’t venture far from the greenhouse, and at the first strange noise or gust of wind, she would run back inside with a fear grimace on her face.

This year has been a turning point for Negra. This spring she started hiking straight up to the top of the two-acre Young’s Hill with no apparent anxiety to enjoy some of the wild greens growing up there. Today we set up a lunch forage on the hill and Negra headed outside with the rest of the group, calm and confident.

Welcome NAPSA!

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Today was an exciting day! Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest had the honor of hosting some amazing passionate humans of the primate sanctuary community! This past week, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) held their 2 day conference (this year in Tacoma, Washington). Sanctuary founders, directors, coordinators, caregivers and allies discussed a diverse number of topics such as the founding of primate sanctuaries, visitor policies and their effects, and compassion fatigue.

This morning, many of the conference attendees loaded onto a bus and made the drive to our sanctuary for a visit to the chimpanzees. We aren’t normally set up for larger group tours,so there were a few things that needed to be rearranged first..

We also set up a lunch tent for the humans to relax in.

Upon arrival, visitors split into smaller groups so they could eat lunch, get a look at some behind the scenes spaces, walk around Young’s Hill, and view the chimps enjoying multiple lunch forages.

Here, part of the group watches the chimps forage on Young’s Hill.

Negra and Annie during the forage:

Foxie and Dora:

After our visitors left, JB returned an important item to its rightful place next to the barn, and the chimpanzees continued to leisurely forage on this beautiful early fall day.

Thanks to all our visitors, volunteers, and staff for making today possible! Thanks also to NAPSA for arranging this fantastic 2016 workshop!