Posts Tagged ‘chimp’

Blowing off steam

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Mornings in the chimp house have been, well, shall we say a little intense the past few days. With what seems to be an early winter, changing routines and closer quarters at mealtimes, we usually experience a little adjustment period with the changing seasons. Breakfast is often pre-empted with the normal raucous and rowdy displays and cage rattling from Burrito (with some extra flare this time of year) which leads to the usual arguments and scuffles with the girls flying after him screaming at the tops of their lungs. Then with tensions high and breakfast being served in the warmer (but smaller) front rooms, it’s been every caregiver for themselves during breakfast service which has frequently involved dodging (if you’re lucky) flying feces from the boss lady. Most of this is normal chimpanzee behavior and all of it is understandable. We all have to blow off steam sometimes.

The chimps also sometimes choose to exert some sense of control over their changing routine or avoid tension in the group by choosing to stay in areas when we are attempting to shift them to others so we can clean. This is Missy’s favorite time to stay back on her own in the playroom and hoot and holler from the loft to her hearts content. Jody also loves to bring her snack into the front rooms when she sees me attempting to close the doors. I leave the area at which point she leaves the front rooms, but the second she sees me looking that way she runs back in. But as we’ve said many times, part of the importance and beauty of sanctuary is the chimpanzees having the choice to call the shots and make their own choices as much as possible. And we’re only too happy to follow their lead.

So after the breakfast kerfuffle, When this morning dawned warmer and somewhat sunny, we couldn’t have been more thrilled for the chimps to have the chance to spend much of the day outside zooming about, racing and running with each other and their caregivers, and just getting some space from one another, taking in the sights and getting some fresh air.

And while Negra still chose to stay inside in her cozy nest, she was entertained by no less than four caregivers dancing like maniacs as she nodded along with approval. It’s been a good day.

Burrito, Annie and Foxie (below):

Burrito and Annie:

Annie checking out the comings and goings of the sanctuary:


Jody started to head back to the greenhouse with a favorite pine tree treat, but stopped short of going inside to check on all her friends. Jody spotted Foxie hanging out by herself and decided she needed to go collect her:

Jamie was thrilled to be out and about and has Kelsi running (literally) around the hill all the live long day:

New Enrichment!

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

We thought the chimpanzees should get something new and exciting since we raised more than expected on Giving Day for Apes…



Foxie’s mysterious relationship with dolls

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

We will never truly know what it is about Foxie’s treasured dolls that she loves so much.

Foxie hug troll


We will never know what she is thinking when she is gazing at them.

Foxie gazing at troll


We will never know what tales she weaves when she is interacting with her dolls.


Do they speak to her?

Foxie listening to troll


Do they have individual personalities?

foxie hand holding troll


What we do know is that Foxie is a unique chimpanzee. We love her exactly as she is.

Foxie hoot face


We are so happy she found something that provides endless entertainment and makes her feel safe and happy:

Foxie bite dora

Foxie hugging blonde dora


A Nod to Dr. Jane Goodall

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Thanks to CSNW board member Elizabeth List, J.B. and I recently had the opportunity to see Jane Goodall give a presentation to a small group of people hosted by the Seattle Foundation.

Here is Elizabeth and Dr. Goodall (you may be able to tell from this photo that Elizabeth was pretty excited to share a stage with Jane):


And here we are, in case you didn’t believe me:

jane with jb and diana


Like many other devoted fans, we’ve met Dr. Goodall several times over the years and have seen her speak in very diverse venues, and she never fails to be truly inspirational. She’s a force for good in this world. Her legacy reaches every corner of the earth, in both big and small ways. She is a groundbreaking animal behavior scientist, a role model for girls and women, and a voice of both compassion and reason in matters concerning the environment and animals.

In my world, her influence is present nearly everyday because she literally wrote the book on chimpanzee behavior. When we describe chimpanzee facial expressions, vocalizations, social interactions, and all other behavior, we are most often using the terminology that developed from the hours upon hours that Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees in their natural habitat. She published papers and books that proceeded it, but the quintessential academic book on chimpanzee behavior, that every primatologist has on their bookshelves, is called The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior.

I could say that this blog post is a nod to Jane Goodall’s work, but really almost all of our blog posts, and, indeed, the sanctuary itself, in the big picture, is thanks to Jane Goodall and her work that allowed us all a glimpse into the world of our closest living relatives.

As I’ve written before on this blog – my favorite chimpanzee facial expression is, as Jane Goodall named it, “relaxed face with drooped lip.”

Among all of the chimpanzees who I have worked directly for over the years, there is no one that illustrates that face better than Jody. Here are two photos that J.B. took of Jody demonstrating the perfect relaxed face with drooped lip:


Jody drooped lip

Jody drooped lip profile
















Happy Birthday, Vicki!

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

We are sending birthday wishes to a very special person today.

Happy Birthday to Vicki Fagerlee, one of our favorite visitors, from all the chimps (and your loving family)!

Thanks to Vicki’s (human) family, Jim, Kim, and family for sponsoring the day in her honor!


May you take some time to rest, like Annie:


play, like Burrito:


spend some time with a loved one, like Foxie and Jamie:

Foxie doll on back


enjoy a treat (or three), like Jody:

jody shoulders


have an adventure, like Missy:

Missy tightrope walking


and end your day as comfortably as you began it, like Negra:

Cuddling Up With a Good Boot

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

We may never understand what it is about boots that Jamie loves so much, but love them she does.

A Lovely Face

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Jody has the most expressive face. She seems to greet the world in wonder.

Getting Comfy

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Today has been all about supreme comfort for Queen Negra.

Secret Hideaway

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

First, I want to express our good wishes for all of our primate friends in Florida right now. We have been thinking about Save the Chimps, Center for Great Apes, and Jungle Friends since coverage of Hurricane Irma began. We know the humans at those sanctuaries have been working hard to prepare for the storm and rolling out their emergency preparedness plans in order to keep the non-human primates in their care safe. We’re so grateful for all that you do and know that you will update everyone when you can, just know you are in our thoughts.

Second, this is pretty difficult to believe, but we will be celebrating Annie’s 43rd birthday tomorrow!


We don’t know Annie’s actual date of birth, and, in fact, even the year could be wrong, but it’s important for us to celebrate the chimpanzees’ individual birthdays, even if the dates were chosen by us when they arrived. Be sure to check in tomorrow for the party recap!


And now, for the news of Jamie’s new hideout on the hill. It’s actually not new at all – it was one of the first features that we included on Young’s Hill.

tunnel construction

We called it Missy’s Tunnel because we had a plastic culvert in the playroom that Missy liked to run through when she was playing chase with Annie, so we imagined that she would do the same with a culvert partially buried and covered over with dirt on the hill.

We haven’t seen much play in the tunnel, though I have seen Missy run through it a time or two.

This summer, Jamie decided to adopt the tunnel and has been using it quite regularly as a resting stop when she’s doing her perimeter walks around the hill.

First, she coaxes one of her caregivers to put on a pair of boots and “join” her on the walk, then, when she gets to the tunnel, she proceeds to just hang out in there for several minutes while her human subject is left standing and waiting on the other side of the fence.


Jamie sitting in tunnel


When she’s good and ready, she emerges and resumes the walk.

Jamie coming out of tunnel


Despite not having a tunnel on the human side of the fence, I’m finding this ritual rather relaxing myself just watching her.

And it has brought back memories. At my elementary school, we had concrete tunnels on the playground. They were great places to cool down away from the sun for a bit, gossip with a friend, or just have a voluntary timeout from whatever else was going on. Even though they were out in the open and everyone knew about them, being in one felt like I was in a secret hideaway.

I like to think that Jamie feels the same way about her newfound private place.

Jamie sitting in tunnel











Going Through the Archives

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Thought I’d share a few photos from the last few weeks at the sanctuary.

Jody relaxing in the playroom:

Jamie surveying Young’s Hill from the top platform in the greenhouse:

Firefighters from the Jolly Mountain Fire presenting Jamie with her own pair of firefighting boots:

Missy discovering a tomato stash during a lunch forage on Young’s Hill:



Annie’s hand holding some bell peppers:

Negra eating an onion on Young’s Hill:

Foxie with Dora: