Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

Jody and plants

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Jody loves plants, of all varieties. In the wild, chimpanzees are known as “frugivores” meaning the majority of their diet is made up of fruit. But they also supplement with leaves, bark, pith, seeds, nuts, honey, ants, termites, and in some communities they will even hunt small mammals. Though Jody loves the fresh produce we offer, she also likes to supplement throughout the day with plants.

Sometimes she forages for native plants that grow wild on Young’s Hill:

web Jody walk green grass plants in mouth YH (ek) IMG_8998

or she also loves to munch on bamboo that we have planted in the greenhouse and on Young’s Hill:



and other times she likes to collect plants we put out as a forage. The other day she collected some pea tendrils from our garden:



Today she found a mouthful of cattails and took them inside to enjoy at her leisure:

(and she even found some leftover pea tendrils from the other day, too!)


A quiet moment between friends

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

We are in the middle of our second heatwave of the season and the chimpanzees are spending much of their time in the cooler chimp house. (With the exception of Jamie who just returned from her third perimeter walk of the day and is currently on her fourth). I recently found Foxie and Dora lounging in the greenhouse, enjoying the breeze:



Usually the second that Foxie sees us she makes a beeline to us to pass us her troll or Dora doll and start a game of chase. But it’s just too hot for such shenanigans. So we sat for quite awhile just gazing at each other and giving the occasional head nod:


Those friendships in which you can just spend time with one other without saying or doing anything are pretty great. It is no small gift.

Take Action Tuesday! Tell Ramsay to stick to yelling at would-be chefs and leave chimpanzees alone

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

EOA take action tuesday

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently posted photos of himself and his family members holding a baby chimpanzee to his Facebook page. The chimpanzee is showing his or her top teeth in this photo, which is actually a fear grin—not a smile.

Chimpanzees are not pets! They are wild animals who should be with their mothers when they are young, and who are dangerous when they get older. Seeing chimpanzees in close contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated like pets.

We’re so disappointed that Gordon Ramsay is promoting the exotic animal trade rather than using his celebrity status to protect chimpanzees, who are critically endangered in the wild.

We want Gordon Ramsay to remove the Facebook photos of the baby chimpanzee. Please send a polite letter to him, c/o his publicist Staci Wolfe, letting him know that chimps should not be used for photo ops alongside humans. Please urge Ramsay to remove all the photos from his Facebook page and promise to never host a visit with a chimpanzee again.


You may send your letter to Gordon Ramsay c/o Staci Wolfe at

Sample Letter to Gordon Ramsay:

Dear Mr. Ramsay:

I was disappointed to hear that you took photos with your family holding a baby chimpanzee and posted them to your Facebook page. You should know that when chimpanzees show their top teeth it is a sign of distress, not happiness.

Chimpanzees provided for photos ops to pose with humans are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a photo op sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. When people see you holding a baby chimpanzee, they assume that chimpanzees make good pets. Though chimpanzees may seem cute and cuddly when infants, they become dangerous as they get older. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Please make the compassionate decision to remove the photos, and pledge to never pose holding baby chimpanzees again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

[Your name here]

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

Lounging with Enrichment

Monday, July 28th, 2014

It’s another scorcher of a day here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. The chimpanzees have been taking it in stride though by lounging during the heat of the day with various enrichment in hand (or mouth).

Jody playing with a plastic toy while wearing a sock:

Jamie lounging with a toothbrush in her mouth:

Jamie with one of her newest favorite boots:

Foxie with her bestie:

Burrito lying around with a brush:

Negra even held on to a wooden toy:

Although Annie didn’t have a piece of enrichment with her as she lounged on the catwalk bridge, she certainly seemed to be enjoying the relaxation time:

And Missy decided to stay out of camera view as she snuggled up in her blanket nest.

Chimpanzees Don’t Belong on Either Side of the Theater Screen

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

A story appeared recently in the Daily Mail and Good Morning America showing images and video of two young chimpanzees, Vali and Sugriva, going to the theater with their “handlers” and watching the film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The irony is that the two young chimpanzees were exploited for this publicity stunt, and brought into a theater to watch a movie that purposefully avoided using live ape actors… (Read more on Care2)

Angel was kept in a Hollywood training facility and routinely beaten and abused into submission by her trainers. She displayed a toothy grin—called a fear grimace—just at the sight of a camera. Angel was rescued by the Center for Great Apes as part of a legal suit against her former trainer.

Angel was kept in a Hollywood training facility and routinely beaten and abused into submission by her trainers. She displayed a toothy grin—called a fear grimace—just at the sight of a camera. Angel was rescued by the Center for Great Apes as part of a legal suit against her former trainer.

For more on the training facility Vali and Sugriva live at, visit our trainer page on Eyes on Apes.

Thank you to Care2 for posting our op-ed on this issue! Please share the article with your friends and get the word out that chimpanzees do not belong on either side of the theater screen.

Spending time in sanctuary

Monday, July 21st, 2014

As a caregiver at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest one of our priorities is trying to come up with entertainment, enrichment, and various engaging activities for the chimpanzees’ daily lives. We are keen to provide them with as much choice and autonomy in captivity as we can.

For all our effort towards this end, it is always a gift to be reminded that as much as the chimpanzees might appreciate it, they also do not rely solely on it for their happiness and well-being. The chimpanzees are as adept at enriching them-selves (and each other) as we are at enrichment and I wouldn’t have it any other way! It is a privilege to care for these seven chimpanzees but I believe they know far better than I what would be the best way for them to spend their time. Here is just a taste of how they choose to live today.



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Alone time is good for the soul

Monday, July 21st, 2014

**Last week I experienced some technical difficulties trying to post my blog. If you are on Facebook you will already have had the opportunity to watch the video but for those of you who aren’t, here is last week’s blog post, finally!! Please enjoy and check back later for today’s real blog post.**

Chimpanzees are highly social creatures. They rely on a social hierarchy and daily networking as part of the glue that keeps their society functioning. But, just like humans, the chimpanzees benefit from some quality time alone as well. With the temperature in the playroom providing a slight relief from a recent humid heat wave, the chimpanzees took advantage of the opportunity for time to cool off and recharge their social batteries.

New Horizons

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Negra doesn’t spend as much time outside on Young’s Hill as the other chimpanzees. She seems to feel safer and more comfortable inside. And when she does go out, she doesn’t venture far. So we’re always excited to see Negra explore new territory on the hill.

This morning we set up a breakfast forage outside, and included some lettuce (Negra’s favorite). Negra couldn’t resist, and she joined the rest of the group as they went out to forage for breakfast. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, she spotted some lettuce on top of a climbing structure. Negra’s not much of a climber, and most of the climbing structures on Young’s Hill have remained unexplored by her. This morning’s lettuce, though, was incentive enough to brave the unknown.












Paper bag day

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

First off—today is the Doggie and Troll Olympics! The games are currently underway and although I wish I could be there to enjoy all the fun, Katelyn, myself, and volunteers Connie and Annie are here with the chimps having fun of our own. (If you weren’t able to join the games today, consider making a donation in Foxie’s honor—the troll games, after all, are about Foxie’s love of troll dolls and an early celebration of her August 8th birthday!)

We’re always trying to come up with interesting enrichment themes for the chimps. The other day I noticed how many paper shopping bags we had collected and thought it would be fun to fill them with enrichment and seal them closed so the chimps would have to open them like presents.

Jamie, of course, loved that project—but to my surprise, Burrito found paper bag day to be a big hit! He used them to display with, which is very helpful if you’re a male chimpanzee. And then he methodically went through one bag, but by the time I grabbed the camera, he had emptied it and was using it as a pillow. Who knew paper shopping bags could have so many uses!