Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

The Blanket Fling

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Burrito has a patented play move that is legitimately impossible to resist – we call it the blanket fling. He most often uses it when he’s trying to initiate play with a caregiver. The closest English translation I can come up with is “Heeeyyyyyy! Let’s get crazy!!” And get crazy we do.












A complicated relationship

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Foxie has a complicated relationship with her dolls. As most of you know, Foxie is rarely without one (or two or three). It can be very emotionally appealing to see Foxie exhibit maternal behaviors with her Doras and trolls, particularly when you learn of the five babies she had stolen from her while in the lab, as Debbie shared yesterday. There is no doubt that Foxie receives comfort from her dolls, but at times she also seemingly uses them to express her frustration.

As much as we see her kiss them, carry them on her back as a mother chimpanzee would do with her children, or become distressed when they are out of her reach, we also see her spend significant amounts of time giving them a good wallop. Foxie is very intense during these times and typically uses a tool to rapidly and repeatedly strike against the dolls. It’s very loud and many of the tools she uses get broken as a result. When she is engaging in this behavior she is very focused and isn’t often interested in much else that may be going on around her.

Notice the toy screwdriver in her left hand and the intense look on her face:






Foxie often remains serious and a bit distant for some time after these stormy displays:




But then the clouds pass and you see the “Foxie light” return in her eyes. While this is really outside the realm of what we have learned about chimpanzee behavior, we could be tempted to try and psychoanalyze her behavior to death. But in reality we really don’t know what’s going on in Foxie’s mind. This is just Foxie. Like each of the chimpanzees, she is an incredibly strong, intelligent, resilient and courageous person and this is how she sometimes chooses to express herself. We love and accept her for exactly who she is, every minute of every day. And that’s all we need to know.


The Big Kid

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Despite Burrito’s 32 years of age, he acts like a kid more often than not (and brings out the kid in us).

Today is for Crystal Codina

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Pam Miller in honor of her friend, Crystal Codina, with the following message: “I am sponsoring this day on behalf of Crystal Codina, a friend to all animals and someone who I am proud to call my friend.”

I love this story: Pam shared that when she recently attempted to make a payment at her veterinarian’s office she learned that Crystal had called the office earlier and made a significant payment to her account to help her with expenses. Pam was so touched by Crystal’s selflessness and did not want the gift to place an undue hardship on Crystal so Pam insisted on returning the gift. But Crystal refused to allow Pam to pay her back. So Pam felt sponsoring a day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees in Crystal’s honor was the next best thing.

Crystal, what a truly kind thing to do for your friend and we hope you know that your compassion has made an even bigger difference than you may have imagined. Pam, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story. You and Crystal both sound like amazing friends to have.  We are touched by your thought to expand such generosity and “pay it forward” to the chimpanzees.

Always looking out for one another, best friends, Annie and Missy:


Missy and Annie on the hill

Missy chase Annie

Jody the carpenter

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

If you have been following the blog for awhile you may have seen us endearingly refer to Jody as “Farmer Jo Jo,” and “Jody the Harvester” due to her love of collecting wild plants and bamboo from Young’s Hill. We never tire of seeing how much she enjoys doing this and knowing that this is the first time in her life that she is able to harvest her own plants for eating or nesting makes it especially meaningful.

It’s also exciting every time we see the chimpanzees take an interest in something new. As caregivers, one of the biggest (and most important) challenges we face is alleviating the boredom that can come with captivity and keeping the chimps lives interesting and enriching. They are extremely intelligent and curious individuals and we never know what may spark their interest.

We are so grateful that the chimpanzees have such amazing friends and today they received a new tool kit, thanks to Debbie B., one of our neighbors in Canada! It’s often Jamie who goes straight for these items, but today Jody was the first one to check it out.

First off, the bite test:


Closer inspection:






This was the moment Jody looked up and decided to walk over and attempt to poke the paparazzi through the caging so the photo session ended here. But it was so great to see Jody checking out the new enrichment and expanding her horizons!

And then there’s Annie, just because:


Mardi Gras after party

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

To start the day off with some excitement, you may have heard that we had a 4.4 earthquake here in Cle Elum very early this morning! It definitely shook things up a bit, but for the most part it seems to have just woken people up with a start. The chimpanzees remained quiet and have appeared unphased today, though Jamie was uncharacteristically still in bed when I arrived this morning.

To add to the excitement the chimpanzees celebrated Mardi Gras today! A bit late, but that’s no reason for them to skip a party! We decided to have a partial breakfast forage in the greenhouse this morning with banana and strawberry smoothie in fancy cups, peanuts in gift boxes and chow. And of course, what Mardi Gras celebration is complete without a couple of bald, eyeless trolls?


Burrito was beside himself and sat in the window fear grimacing with excitement and food squeaking as he watched one of our interns, Ally, and I set things up. His plan seems to have been to get as much chow as he could hold (mouth and hands both count):


Jody was the first one out to the party and went straight for the fancy looking smoothies:


It is Mardi Gras…


Fancy drinks are always one of Jamie’s favorites and she typically collects as many as she can:



Foxie was really in the spirit of things and doing a lot of her signature “spider chimp” moves, but was so fast I could only capture a couple of photos:


web_foxie_climb_to_windowsill_ kd_IMG_8620

Negra really enjoyed the chow and gift boxes with peanuts (both her favorites) and spent her time looking for them. Though judging from her clapping in a demanding manner at us, it would seem she didn’t think we put out enough! I believe she was appeased by J.B. dancing for her though (don’t tell him I told you that ;) ). But hey, what’s Mardi Gras without dancing? Though I am sorry there is no photographic evidence of this portion of the revelries.


Annie and Missy enjoyed the hoopla as well, but both preferred to avoid the paparazzi.

And what better way to end the day than with a walk around Young’s Hill:


President’s Day Equals Jamie’s Day

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Since today is President’s Day, we decided to make it all about the “president” of this group of chimpanzees. As many of you may know by now, Jamie is the leader; the one to call the shots around here. She is certainly one of the most determined, demanding, project orientated ladies I know. So, today’s enrichment was focused around Jamie’s love of boots, brushes, scarves and walks around Young’s Hill.

When I arrived this morning, I went in to greet the chimpanzees and Jamie had tied a scarf around her neck. Apparently she knew it was boss day and was dressed for the occasion. She drew the line at me taking any photo evidence though. Burrito may have known it was going to be her day today because he spent the better part of yesterday late afternoon grooming Jamie in the Greenhouse and joined her in a walk around Young’s Hill.

Here’s the two of them sitting next to one another looking out onto Young’s Hill.




And here’s Jamie rescuing Foxie’s troll dolls this afternoon. She spotted them on the ground near the top of Young’s Hill (I think Foxie left them there yesterday when she went for a walk), picked them up, sniffed them and decided to carry them back to the Greenhouse with her. Once in the Greenhouse she dropped them and walked back outside to go for another walk around the hill.




Sanctuary is love.

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Today has been all about love! We threw a big party in the greenhouse for Valentine’s Day with the help of decorations and enrichment donated by Lisa S., Carol M., and volunteer Patti—plus delicious food donated by Anne R. and Patti, including some tasty buckwheat waffles with walnuts and carrots. They smelled delicious! Patti excluded the sugar and salt from the recipe, but the chimpanzees didn’t mind one bit. They wolfed them down!

Here’s some photos from the set-up:


During the party, Foxie started to whimper a little bit. Jamie swooped in and comforted her and even shared a waffle piece with her. Now that is love! Jamie is the boss of the group, and in the chimp world, that means she doesn’t have to share anything if she doesn’t want to. In fact, she can take anything from anyone to assert her dominance. So for her to share something with Foxie is a true gesture of friendship.

Negra especially loved the waffles:



Jamie loved the drinks—we had red gatorade watered down plus smoothie in little shot glasses!










We all appreciate your gestures of friendship and love for the chimpanzees and are blown away with how we surpassed our Share the Chimp Love goal! It warms our hearts to know that these chimpanzees mean so much to all of you that you would share your generosity with them.


note: Patty Clark’s name should have also been included in the heart above!


You all have played a part in a second chance at life for these chimpanzees.

As supporter Kathleen C. put it in her sponsor-a-day message for today, “Sanctuary is love.” Just watch the video below to see how much love they had for sanctuary today!



And here’s the final Share the Chimp Love image of what love is for Negra

Love is for Negra

Today is for chimp love

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Today we celebrate love, not only in it’s countless beautiful forms, but also for what it makes possible. And making this day even more special, a day of sanctuary love was sponsored for the chimpanzees by both Kathleen Corby and Secrette Miller.

I don’t think I could ever sum up all the love we have in our hearts for the chimpanzees and the gratitude we have that they are able to live the lives they do. Kathleen shared this heartfelt message which definitely speaks for us all:

“I love Missy, Annie, Negra, Burrito, Jamie, Jody and Foxie. Why not celebrate their life in Sanctuary on The Day of LOVE?! I cannot fathom what their lives must have been like during the decades before they arrived at CSNW. I have great respect and admiration for what they had to overcome and for who they are today. May love and generosity fill every day of their lives. And may the Cle Elum Seven always serve as an example of the importance that all captive chimpanzees deserve the right to live a life full of good health, comfort and care, choices, friendships, and LOVE. Sanctuary is love. Let’s all celebrate our CSNW Love today!”

Kathleen and Secrette, thank you so much for sponsoring such a special day for the chimpanzees and for all that you both do to give them a life full of love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Speaking of love, we’ve received a lot of it over the past two weeks during our Share the Chimp Love campaign. So much, that we increased our goal! Joan and Pat Borders, who gave us a generous $2,500 gift early on in the fundraising made another $1,000 gift, and yesterday we received a $1,000 gift from the Armstrong Family as well, pushing us well beyond our original goal of $12,000. Now we have just $209 to go to reach our new goal of $14,000 on the 14th! Many thanks to EVERYONE who has donated! For those who haven’t, there’s still time!  You can make a gift for a loved one, yourself, or just to celebrate love.

For inspiration, here are some photos of the chimps celebrating love:

Annie and Missy:

annie lovingly gazing at missy




web burrito valentines day party red heart box food


web Jody peer lilacs birthday party mother's day greenhouse GH IMG_7880

Foxie and Dora:

web foxie valentines day doll party red


web jamie valentines day party pen writing pink red

Be sure to check the blog later today to see the chimpanzees’ 2015 Valentine’s Day celebration!

Happy Birthday, Judy!

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by the chimpanzees’ good friend, Judy Nash! Today is Judy’s birthday and she shared this beautiful message:

“February 12th is my birthday and I can’t think of a better gift to get than sharing with the Cle Elum Seven. These individuals have a special place in my heart and it gives me great joy to watch them blossom and enjoy sanctuary life.”

Judy, we’re so lucky to have you in the chimpanzees’ lives! What a compassionate way to celebrate your life, along with theirs. Thank you so much for all you do to help ensure a sanctuary home in which the chimpanzees can grow and bloom as the amazing individuals they are. We wish you the happiest of days!

This guy says eat lots (and lots) of food and do some hooting!

Burrito with chow in mouth