Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

Dinnertime lounging

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Yesterday during dinner, Jody decided to relax a little in between courses. She would go out to the greenhouse, get her serving, and then take it to the front rooms to enjoy her meal without any distractions.

Sometimes the chimpanzees prefer to eat with more privacy, and will take their servings off to their own corner. Part of that might be to avoid getting their food taken by someone more dominant (which is completely normal in chimp society) — but partially I think some chimps just enjoy eating away from the hub-bub of the meal.

Still, some chimps will park themselves in one spot during a meal and stay there until everything has been served. Just another example of how great it is that in sanctuary, they can choose how and where to spend their time.





In memory of Joseph and Carlene’s anniversary

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Joseph Garza, in memory of his late wife, Carlene, and this day, which would have been their 15th wedding anniversary. Joseph and Carlene have done so much for the chimpanzees and even though Carlene is no longer with us physically, both she and Joseph continue to make an immense difference in the chimps’ lives. Joseph shared this beautifully heartfelt message about today:

“On this date fifteen years ago, Carlene K. Olsen-Paul and I exchanged vows to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. Little did we know that the latter would come much too soon.

She captured my heart with the first look into her eyes and at that moment I knew that I was looking into the soul of the love of my life. The Lord gave us almost 20 years together, 14 and one-half of those as husband and wife. They weren’t all easy, but I would give anything to have even the worst day back again just to hold her in my arms again.

Carlene K. Olsen-Garza, you are my soul mate and I know when my time comes you will be waiting for me and we will once again be reunited, but this time for eternity. Til then, I love you my angel.”

Joseph, thank you so much for sharing such a special day with not only the chimpanzees, but all of us. We are immensely moved that you not only continue to carry Carlene’s passion for the chimpanzees in your heart, but have made it your own as well. Our thoughts are with you today as you remember your dear wife and the beautiful life you shared.

Annie groom Missy in greenhouse

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Linda Goodwin, in honor of her niece, Laura Chadduck’s, birthday! Linda shared this message about Laura:

“My niece, Laura, lights up every room she walks into with her positive energy and empathy. All who know her love her, and she’s a true animal lover as well as avid [Seattle] Sounders fan!”

Linda, thank you so much for choosing to make a difference in the chimpanzees’ lives while celebrating Laura on her birthday! We are so touched that you would think of them.

Laura, thank you for caring about animals and being such a positive presence in the world. We hope you have the happiest of birthdays!

Our resident athlete, Missy:




Spring is in the air

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Spring is here, which for this region means the weather is predictably unpredictable. Yesterday, we had a beautiful 70 degree slightly cloudy day—the chimpanzees and the humans were loving it! We had the windows open, we did some work outside, Jamie went on lots of walks, and it felt like summer was just around the corner.

Annie enjoying some of the nice spring weather lately:




Today is, well, not as nice. We have had some very blustery winds with a slight drizzle, but that hasn’t stopped Jamie from making her daily patrols! Most of the other chimps have preferred to stay in the warm wind-protected greenhouse, soaking in the spring sunlight.

What will tomorrow bring? No matter what, I’m sure Jamie will still make her patrols and require her caregivers to come along as well. And maybe Burrito will join and do his new “hop.” Or who knows—maybe even Foxie will come along.


Thank you, Leanne!

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Leanne Preble! Leanne shared the simple, but beautiful message that she wishes for this day to be in honor of “Hope. Love. Home…Sanctuary.” These simple words hold profound meaning for each of us. And we are privileged to witness on a daily basis what can happen for individuals when these things are provided. But we can only imagine what they truly mean for each of the chimpanzees after all they have endured.

Leanne, thank you so much for sponsoring this day to celebrate the chimpanzees and their lives in their sanctuary home. And may all those still awaiting their sanctuary be held in our thoughts as well.

The hope in Jamie’s eyes:

web Jamie hopeful close up eyes bright gh _MG_1655

The love of best friends, Annie and Missy:


and Burrito and Foxie:

web Burrito hug Foxie 2 IMG_3258

Jody, at rest in her home:

web jody nest blankets sleep front rooms IMG_0216

Negra, at peace in sanctuary:


Sink enrichment

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Recently we got some toy sinks in the mail, and I knew right away Jamie would be interested. Sure enough, we filled up the sink with some soapy water, along with some dishes and scrub brushes, and she began her inspection.

First, she tried to take the thing apart. When that proved to be more work than she expected, she went to using the brush to dip into the bubbly water and wipe on her tongue. Mmm, tasty soapy water! (We use all plant-based, non-toxic soap, so it’s okay if the chimps decide to eat it).





Once she had explored the sink thoroughly, she grabbed a pencil and picked up the assembly instruction sheet we left behind.

Take Action Thursday: McDonald’s exploits Suzy chimpanzee in new ad

Thursday, March 19th, 2015


A recent advertisement for McDonald’s restaurants in France features Suzy the chimpanzee demonstrating trained behaviors, such as jumping up and down and making “funny” faces. Unfortunately, what Suzy has experienced–and what her future holds–is not funny at all.



Although chimpanzees may appear to have positive, loving relationships with their trainers, this can be deceiving. Trainers often take babies away from their mothers at a very young age and use abusive, fear-based tactics to get chimpanzees to perform. Undoubtedly this environment causes serious psychological harm.

Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife, where Suzy lives, has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards.


Suzy was the chimpanzee used in a Dodge commercial five years ago, which was altered after the company learned about the issues surrounding chimpanzees in entertainment. They took an innovative approach and using CGI, removed Suzy’s image from the original ad and changed the voiceover to mention the “invisible monkey.” Dodge also issued a mea culpa about the original commercial, explaining what they learned from Eyes on Apes and other advocacy groups.

dodge invisible monkey

As Suzy gets older, her future remains uncertain. Martin has a reputation for dumping his former non-human ape actors at facilities with deplorable conditions, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo.

Unfortunately, despite reaching out to McDonald’s, we have not received confirmation that they plan to remove or alter the commercial. We need your help to put the pressure on McDonald’s! Please write a polite letter asking them to remove the ad, and pledge to never work with non-human ape actors again. You may direct your letters to Deborah Wahl (, a Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s.

You may also leave comments on McDonald’s France’s Facebook page or send a Tweet to @McDonaldsCorp.

Sample Letter to McDonald’s:

Dear Ms. Wahl:

I was disappointed to hear that McDonald’s France used Suzy the chimpanzee in a recent commercial for Spicy Chicken Wraps.

Suzy lives with a trainer who has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards ( Suzy’s trainer has dumped former non-human ape actors at deplorable roadside zoos, and as she is getting older, soon she will be too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Suzy, and others like her, deserve to be in a sanctuary. Help put an end to the use of chimpanzees in entertainment by removing the commercial and making a promise to never work with non-human ape actors again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.


[Your name here]

If you send an e-mail to McDonald’s, please remember to BCC Eyes on Apes at for tracking purposes. Thank you!

To get these alerts in your inbox, sign up for the Eyes on Apes Take Action mailing list!

Blue skies, bluebirds and Burrito

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Spring has definitely sprung early at the sanctuary. The first bluebird couple has returned and the vivid blue skies seem to be reflected in their brilliant plumage.



And then there’s Burrito. He’s been regularly joining in on walks around Young’s Hill with Jamie and the caregivers. (You never know when you might need a toothbrush when you’re out on an adventure):


This may not seem like such a big deal, but it’s taken Burrito a couple of years to feel as comfortable walking the perimeter as he appears to be this year. Initially his walks were rather serious endeavors, filled with fear grimaces and anxious looks back toward the safety of the greenhouse. And last year he seemed to prefer to stick closer to the greenhouse and lower hill for food forages instead. But this year, he is not only anxious to come along, he play stomps (chimpanzees often stomp their feet to indicate they want to play), laughs and runs most of the way! It’s an incredible joy to see him so much more at ease and joyful on the hill.

Jamie leading the way and Burrito following:



Here’s Burrito mid-head nod and play stomp and Jamie with her “put that stupid camera down and come on” look:


Jamie looking down from the top of Young’s Hill at the view of the valley and the Yakima River:


At this point, Jamie decided to take a short cut and head down through the middle of the bamboo to explore on her own. This would typically be when Burrito would closely follow her every step so as not to be left behind. But now he has developed this adorable little goat-like kick with his hind legs (which I unfortunately haven’t been able to capture yet) and takes off in a game of chase, running the rest of the way with the humans:



There are plenty of stops along the way for more play stomping and laughing (and picking up one’s toothbrush):


When we’ve reached the end of the loop around Young’s Hill, the chimpanzees and humans have to briefly part ways. The chimpanzees’ path takes them back toward the greenhouse and the humans’ path takes us a longer route continuing around the outside of the electric fence which encircles not only Young’s Hill, but the chimp house as well.  The chimps know we will either meet them back inside or back at the gate to Young’s Hill if they want to go for another loop. Heading off on our separate paths, I looked back to see Jamie looking up at the blue sky where three hawks were flying overhead and Burrito play stomping his way through the spring grass.

As I walked around to meet them on the other side, I was struck by a wave of gratitude for all those who made it possible for the chimpanzees to have Young’s Hill.  That the chimpanzees have not only a life in sanctuary, but an incredibly beautiful 2-acre outdoor enclosure to enjoy at their own pace with views of the valley, river, countless trees, and a variety of neighborhood wildlife all set under open skies against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. And I couldn’t help but smile. For all of us.


Today is in memory of Pat Betts

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by the chimpanzees’ dear friend, Joseph Garza, in memory of Pat Betts. Joseph and his late wife, Carlene, have embraced the chimpanzees, including them in their lives, and in turn making such a difference in the chimpanzees’ lives. Joseph shared this beautiful message about Pat:

“Pat was a daughter, sister, teacher to our young, a wife, a mother and grandmother. She raised her only daughter to become a successful lawyer in the Billings, MT area and was a strong influence in the raising of her two grandchildren. And she was the aunt of my late wife Carlene. Pat was a strong woman who loved life and lived it well. She was an active member of her church and community and loved helping those without a voice, our animal friends. To that end I wish to dedicate this day of sponsorship to her. Rest in peace Pat.”

Joseph, thank you so much for sponsoring this day in memory of Pat. We are touched that your mind comes to the chimps when honoring a loved one. Pat sounds like a very special person and we are happy to celebrate her life here today. Our thoughts are with you, and all of Pat’s family and friends.

Another strong woman, Negra:

Negra close-up

St. Patrick’s Day 2015

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As Katelyn mentioned in the sponsor-a-day post this morning, we love to find any reason to throw a party for the chimpanzees. So today we filled little shamrock cups with almond milk which was dyed green with food coloring, as well as their usual fruit smoothie which we also dyed green. We picked green apples and kiwis for the breakfast forage—and threw in some oranges because the chimps love them! Add some streamers and St. Patty’s day decor, and you have the perfect recipe for a great party!

Everyone loved the drinks. We added little straws to the cups, and some chimps used them while others tossed them aside while they licked the cups clean! Foxie was especially great at getting every last drop:



And Missy, too:



Negra delicately drank from the little shamrock glasses:


Burrito had filled his hands with chow so he had no choice but to lean over and use the straw for sipping:



Annie also enjoyed every last drop of the drinks:



Of course, the fruit was a big hit! Jody was so motivated to get some that she took on some unusual (for her) acrobatic moves to get to the high windows to get a snack.















We also hid some peanuts in little green boxes. Annie was the first to find them:






Jamie, quite uncharacteristically, was not the center of everything during this party! She grabbed a stash of food and drinks and stationed herself in a corner where we couldn’t get any photos of her. But she certainly enjoyed the forage, and we saw her still searching around for leftovers hours later!