Posts Tagged ‘chimp’

A whirlwind of years

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Today is about time flying by and some of the great random moments in the lives of the chimpanzees over the last ten years.

I’ve started and stopped this blog so many times today that I lost count.


There were toys to clean:


Laundry to do:


Amazing interns to train:


Paper braids for evening enrichment to be made (most of which were made by the aforementioned amazing interns):



And of course walks to take. Jamie was in the running mood today, so this quick snapshot was the only halfway decent photo I was able to get on one of our day walks:


Plus a whole host of other daily activities.


And then more walks after dinner! (well after I thought I would have this blog posted).

Courtesy of the unseasonably mild weather and the lengthening days, Jamie did three more walks after her evening meal, with Missy joining her for two of them.


This year’s HOOT! gala on May 19th will celebrate ten years of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees living the sanctuary life. TEN YEARS!

We are in the process of a website redesign right now. I’m really excited about a whole new look that highlights the great photos of the chimpanzees and hopefully makes it easy for people to be drawn in and fall in love with them. Here’s a sneak peek:

When the designers were starting to move the data over from the existing site into the new design, they ran into a snag because of the amount of content that we had in the blog. Ten years worth of photos, videos, and stories, it seems, takes up quite a bit of space.

I love that we have this diary of the chimpanzees’ days and the moments that were funny, poignant, and sometimes even mundane.

I remember being a kid and thinking that a week, or even a day (an hour?), was an excruciatingly long time to wait for something. I remember adults saying, “don’t complain – when you get older, time will fly by.”

Never were truer words uttered.

Lately, I feel like I’m in a movie montage – days pass by in seconds, and years are contained in just a minute’s worth of highlights. But then there’s this blog with all of these posts that mark real moments in time over the last several years. Moments that the chimpanzees were living to the fullest. Days that were spent with companionship, favorite foods, boots, trolls, blankets. Years that marked new additions to their home. Almost a decade of exploration into this new life they were given.


Here’s a look back on the last ten years of blog posts for January 20th (or thereabouts – we didn’t always post to the blog every single day – can you imagine!)


January 21, 2008:

not-so-shy Foxie


January 19, 2009:

Trolls: Not just for Foxie!


January 19, 2010:

Annie Upside Down



January 20, 2011:

Greenhouse play


January 21, 2012:

the snow days continue


January 20, 2013:

Floppy ears


January 20, 2014:

There’s something about Burrito


January 21, 2015:

Always a reason to play


January 20, 2016:

20 snapshots of the day


January 20, 2017:

Tool Use


And that bring us to today. Happy January 20th to everyone. Thank you for following along!


Trying new things

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

The other day, after the PRT session that Elizabeth filmed, Jamie and I followed a typical post-PRT routine. Because I had spent the last fifteen minutes requesting that she do things, it was her turn to request that I do something (I’m pretty sure that Jamie believes it is ALWAYS time for the humans to do something for her, but I digress). So I put on her latest favorite pair of boots, we did a perimeter walk, and afterward we settled in for a grooming session in the greenhouse.

Jamie is easily the most dexterous chimpanzee I’ve ever known, and she’s a master at using tools. Her fine-motor ability is really quite impressive. Just watch this video of Jamie giving J.B. a “manicure” and read this story about her tool-altering skills and forethought.

It was just Jamie in the greenhouse, grooming my fingers and the boots, when Annie came over with a tool of her own.


For the first several years of Annie’s sanctuary life, she didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the humans – not because she wasn’t interested in us, but, I think, because she was a ball of anxiety, and she didn’t want to over-step her place in the social world of chimpanzees and humans. We have written many times on the blog about Annie’s ever-growing confidence in the last few years (for example, this touching post from Elizabeth).


We’ve witnessed all of the chimpanzees trying new things over the last nine+ years at the sanctuary. We’ve gotten to know them so well that when they do something new, it stands out. You may already be familiar with “Fake Neggie” – a nickname for Missy when she is adopting Negra’s quintessential blanket-over-head nesting style.


You may not know that there was a time a few years ago when Negra decided troll dolls were her thing too, carrying one with her from bed to meals to adventures on Young’s Hill.

It lasted for a few weeks, then the fad seemed to pass for Negra and she’s been mostly troll-less ever since, leaving the doll obsession to Foxie.


Jody is sometimes seen with troll dolls, and Annie tries them out once in a while too.


Imitation is an important part of observing and learning. J.B. wrote a blog post back in 2012 about how copying the behavior of others shouldn’t be dismissed as somehow intellectually unimpressive. It’s worth the read.


When Annie confidently walked towards me with her rather blunt tool and pushed it out through the caging to groom the boot I was wearing, my smile could not have been any bigger. She was clumsy and awkward with the over-sized tool she had chosen, but she gave it a go, even with boss Jamie sitting right there to watch.


Annie didn’t stay long, and I don’t think she had any kind of magical insight about why Jamie spends so much time engaging in this behavior.


To have an interesting and full life and to get a better idea of who you are, you have to try new things – even things you aren’t sure you will be good at doing. Annie seems to know this now. She’s 100% signed up for this sanctuary life, and I have no doubt she and her chimpanzee companions will continue to try new things, figuring out more about themselves and delighting and surprising us along the way.


Happy Birthday, Tracy!

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Foxie wanted to send a big Happy Birthday to her pal Tracy, who sponsored today’s day of sanctuary!

Tracy, Foxie hopes that your day is full of (figurative) back-flips and pirouettes and lots of (actual) laughter and joy!

Foxie upside down

State of the Sanctuary

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

The current state of the sanctuary, in this moment, is a 100% chance of snow with Jamie spending the day with her books. She’s still thoroughly enamored with the Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary book and is also enjoying her new boot and shoe books.

I just snapped this photo of Jamie’s nest in the playroom:

Jamie's nest


She left her cozy nest long enough to throw me one of her new boots so that I could put it on and play a game of indoor chase for a few minutes.


For a bigger picture view of the State of the Sanctuary and the super exciting plans for the future, watch this video!

And then make a year-end gift to help us reach the goal of $20,000 raised in the next four days before the clock strikes midnight and the calendar turns to 2018.


Christmas Party #1 in Honor of Nancy Hedlund

Monday, December 25th, 2017

Molly Adrian is the second sponsor of today’s day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees! She is honoring her mother, Nancy Hedlund and shared this message:

“Christmas Day – my mom would love nothing more than to gift a day of happiness and nourishment for these beautiful chimpanzees. Merry Christmas!!”

Happiness and nourishment abound today!


Here is a little preview of their Christmas so far, with more to come, of course!

This photo pretty much sums up Christmas for Jamie. We’ve been talking about how she is the consummate consumer – she loves things! The more, the better. Her friends really came through for her and the other chimps today and sent an abundance of gifts and decorations for the party. So many, that we’ll be having a second party later this afternoon! Here is Jamie looking through one of her new boot books:

Jamie with her stuff


If you’ve been following the blog for a bit, you know that food is the biggest source of excitement for Burrito. So, he’s pretty much beside himself when the holidays roll around:

Burrito inhaling xmas


We’ve got a third sponsor-a-day coming up, and we’re working on the video of Party #1 right now. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!



Remembering Bill

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Nicki Walters sponsored this special Christmas Eve day of sanctuary in memory of her beloved husband, Bill, and she shared this touching message about today:

“This is my Christmas Present to my Sweet Willy Twist who is greatly missed. The Magnificent 7 always brought us so much joy and helped us find our smiles and give us reasons to laugh during several dark days. Even though he isn’t here to enjoy this day, I like to think he still looks on and watches them climb and romp around on his Twister! Merry Christmas to the Chimpazees and all who take such good care of them!”

Nicki, all of the primates here at the sanctuary are so fortunate to call you and Bill our friends. From our hearts, thank you for all you have, and continue, to contribute to making the chimps’ home a true sanctuary. Your amazing gift of Twister has brought so much joy and adventure to the chimps’ lives. It’s given boss lady, Jamie, a perfect vantage point from which to view her queendom and all the happenings in all the land:

It’s encouraged others to reach new heights of courage and daring (Burrito being VERY brave):

Foxie, Dora and Kate:

Foxie climb twister


Inspired chimpanzee shenanigans (Missy top, Annie below):

Annie and Missy top of Twister

Missy chasing Annie:

And is a daily reminder of all the love that surrounds the chimps and all the good people we get to call part of our chimp family.

Nicki, you and Bill are in our hearts and thoughts and we are sending you all the good thoughts for a season full of love, comfort and peace.

Sun, Snow, and Friends

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

We (finally) got a sprinkling of snow yesterday, so Anna and volunteer Becca filled up some buckets with the fluffy stuff and put them in the front rooms for the chimpanzees after we had finished cleaning.

It’s a gorgeous day today in central Washington. The sun came out early and has been shining bright all day. The snow on the ground catches the light and makes it look like the world is winking and sparkling.

snow sparkles


For Annie, today was the kind of day that you take a bucket of snow up to a window on the catwalk and enjoy the cold treat with the sun streaming onto your face.


And when her friends Jody and then Missy came by, she decided there was plenty to share:


Happy eve of Christmas Eve, everyone!


A model chimpanzee

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Foxie has been incredibly playful ALL day. She is a joyful spirit, but for whatever the reason she’s been exceptionally exuberant and happy today. I caught her in our so called portrait studio this afternoon and she graciously allowed me to take some photos. But not without adding her signature Foxie Flair to each one. Every time I would put the camera down and look at her she’d smile at me, nod her head and laugh, and as soon as I’d bring the camera up she strike another pose. She’s pretty spectacular.

Holiday Greetings!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

You saw the photos last week of the chimps’ first holiday celebration of the season. We saved the video from the party, and J.B. put together this video just for you:


Learn more about joining the Chimpanzee Pal program, just in time for the holidays.

pal holiday logo

Today (and yesterday!) is for Elizabeth List

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Elizabeth List’s dad made a generous Giving Tuesday donation in honor of Elizabeth and wanted to part of that to go towards honor her birthday for a sponsor-a-day.

Unfortunately, I missed posting this yesterday on her actual birthday – so sorry, Elizabeth and dad James! Hopefully, this just means the celebration can continue.

Elizabeth serves on the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest Board of Directors. You may remember seeing her smiling, blurry face in this post about her hosting Jane Goodall for a Seattle Foundation event this fall.

We’re so happy to have Elizabeth as a board member, and we are pleased that we can take part in celebrating her! I happen to know that she finds Burrito irrestible, so here are a few of my favorite photos of that charming guy.

Happy belated b-day, Elizabeth!