Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

Happy Birthday, Jayne!

Friday, April 17th, 2015

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Jayne Roepke! Jayne is such a good friend to the chimpanzees and is always looking for opportunities to make their lives better (as well as the lives of the humans who care for them!). Today also happens to be Jayne’s birthday and we are touched and honored to share such a special day with her.

Jayne shared this beautiful message for today:

“April 17th is my birthday and I’d like to sponsor that day in honor of other supporters (like me) who simply marvel at the endearing chimpanzee beings who are fortunate to call CSNW their home (as well as others who may follow.) I greatly appreciate your willingness to allow ‘regular folks’ to actively participate in the lives of these precious souls. I get so much joy watching their lives unfold before our eyes. They have taught me so much about the power of forgiveness and perseverance.”

Jayne, we hope you have the happiest of birthdays! Thank you so much for celebrating your life by honoring not only the chimpanzees, but all the amazing supporters who grace their lives. What a lovely thing to do! We are privileged to be surrounded by so many compassionate individuals who all make the chimpanzees’ lives here in sanctuary possible.

Beautiful Jody:


Not everyone has the time for a siesta

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

After lunch today everyone spent time soaking up the warmth of the greenhouse. Stretched out in the heat and dozing, bellies were full and eyes were heavy. Beautiful Missy wasn’t asleep, but she gave me the rare gift of a quiet moment with her. And the even rarer gift of a quiet moment in front of the camera.






But not everyone has time for siestas. While the rest of us were enjoying a leisurely moment, Ellie was hard at work. She and Jim, from A-1 Petroleum and Propane, were busy with our propane delivery.


And just between us, I am pretty sure Ellie has a crush. Ellie is a pretty friendly lady, but she was completely smitten with her new pal, Jim. I think she might have gone home with him if she could have gotten in his truck.


Take Action Tuesday: Speak up for Eli chimpanzee

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

EOA take action tuesday

A few weeks ago, we alerted you to a new Comedy Central show called Big Time in Hollywood, FL, with reported footage of a chimpanzee in several scenes. We know now that chimpanzee is Eli, who lives at a training facility called Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife.

One of the actors from the show, Lenny Jacobson, identified Eli in an interview where he talked about the experience filming with a chimpanzee. He mentioned that the trainer on set was missing a finger from a chimpanzee bite—which isn’t shocking given the true nature of chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are very strong, and once they become too hard to manage, trainers will discard them at roadside zoos or pseudo-sanctuaries.


Eli’s trainer has a history of dumping former nonhuman ape actors at very decrepit facilities, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo. Eli’s trainers also have repeatedly failed to meet minimal animal welfare standards. (

There’s still time to act—the episodes with Eli’s scenes have not aired yet. Please send a polite letter to the producers and to Lenny Jacobson letting them know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees dressed up in clothing and in physical contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

Your letters do work! Another alert we sent out last month regarding a McDonald’s France commercial with Suzy (who lives with the same trainer as Eli) was pulled after they received feedback from Eyes on Apes supporters and other advocacy groups. Great victory! We hope to see Big Time in Hollywood, FL make the same progressive decision.

We’ve set up a sample letter which you can customize as you wish (click here). You may also post on the show’s Facebook page.

Changing perspectives

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

It’s hard to imagine the chimpanzees once being so different from who we know them to be today. I think this on most days, and yet every day they each show us another dimension of themselves. These seven individuals, so full of life, personality, courage and intelligence spent decades forced to live on the periphery of their lives. But with each passing season they become more fully themselves.

A year or so ago, and for some of the chimpanzees even less, we would not have had to “squint” to see who was out on Young’s Hill, so far away they appear a mere speck among the greenery. This season in particular, the chimpanzees seem to be embodying a spring of their own, literally changing and growing by the day.







All the chimpanzees (with the exception of Negra for whom the outdoor temperatures are still not quite warm enough) enjoyed wandering far and wide on Young’s Hill after breakfast this morning. They often head out as a troop at this time, but where they used to stick together, they much more frequently spread out to take in their own adventure while just keeping an eye on one another. But that said, once someone starts to head back to the greenhouse the others often follow.

Missy (L) and Jamie (R):


From left to right: Annie, Missy, and Jamie






When they all headed back inside this morning I greeted each of them as they passed by and quickly realized Foxie was missing from the group. I stood up, my eyes scanning the hill for a sign of her, and I finally spotted her at the very top of the furthest climbing structure, perfectly content and enjoying her solitude with Dora and Troll.


When she saw that I had spotted her, she gave me a head nod and play slapped the platform as she shook Dora in my direction. I nodded back to her in acknowledgement and waited for her to eventually make her way back to the chimp house. In such moments I don’t think I could fully express all that is in my heart in seeing each of their hearts and souls blooming. Knowing what an immense journey it has been, and continues to be for each of them. The chimpanzees help remind me to accept things as they are each day. But to always hold the space, the expectation, and the hope for the ever changing gifts of each passing season.




Waking up in the chimp house

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

One of my favorite times of the day is when I first walk into the chimp house in the morning. The chimpanzees are usually all awake when we get here, but there are often a few moments of stillness before the chimpanzees excitedly greet the caregivers and the wild rumpus of the morning begins. Sometimes a few people are still enjoying a quiet lie-in in their nests, as Missy was today, looking half asleep and yawning as she fluffed up her nest:



Annie was just in the next window over, peacefully enjoying the view of the valley below:


Next I spotted Jody, tucked away in her cozy nest, not quite ready to get up:

web_jody_nest_pr_ am_kd_IMG_0596

Then I went out to the greenhouse to say good morning to whomever was out there and found good friends, Burrito (left) and Foxie (right), enjoying an intent grooming session in the morning sun. The spot they are sitting in is the east facing side of the greenhouse which looks out onto Young’s Hill (when the panels are off in the warmer weather). Even though it’s still too cold to remove the panels, it’s a favorite spot in the morning as the sun first hits here when it comes up over the hill in the morning:



I looked up to see Negra peeking down from the top platform of the greenhouse, where it’s the warmest. Right after this photo she climbed down, gave me a quick kiss, and then grabbed some more blankets and headed back up to her nest:


So by this time, you might be wondering (as was I) where the boss lady, Jamie, was. As the dominant female of the group, we always try to greet Jamie first in the morning. This isn’t hard to do as she is usually one of the first people we see when we come in, so it was unusual not to see her by now.┬áLeaving the greenhouse, I turned the corner into the human hallway of the chimp house and…Jamie! Wide awake and on duty! Nothing gets by this lady. Now this is the moment as the photographer where we are either going to be in trouble for wantonly taking photos without her approval, or she’ll show us some leniency and let our pesky paparazzi ways pass. This morning, she happily obliged and even gave me several head nods when I asked to take her photo.

A beautiful start to a beautiful day.


Jamie the walking machine

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

When Jamie first started her daily perimeter walks, it was usually just once or twice a day that she would ask us to accompany her (from the outside of the fence) around Young’s Hill. Now, it averages probably about seven to eight a day, maybe even more. She will ask each of her caregivers to go along at least once, but usually three or four times! She really has become a walking machine.

I think if the humans weren’t busy trying to clean enclosures, prepare enrichment and food, write the blog, and all the other things we do in a day—that Jamie would be asking to go on continuous walks non-stop. The other day, Elizabeth and I did a “walking relay” — I radioed her when Jamie and I were on our way down the hill so she could go wait at the gate (the starting point for these perimeter walks) with boot in tow. Jamie ran SO fast to meet up with Elizabeth and go on another walk!

It’s really awesome to see how excited she can be at times, because most of the time Jamie is all serious business. As Elizabeth mentioned yesterday, her moods can swing pretty wildly.

Here’s a couple recent pictures of Jamie on walks:




This one is from last fall, but I just love it.

Jamie looking awesome

Celebrating Easter Chimp Style

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

How did the chimpanzees celebrate the Easter holiday this year? In pure chimp fashion, of course (meaning, a lot of food, enrichment and a good ol’ fashion Easter egg hunt on Young’s Hill). Some of the party preparations included festive blankets, streamers, boxes in the shape of bunnies, books, toys, Easter baskets, bags and eggs.


We decided to set out a breakfast forage in the Greenhouse this morning using appropriate dinnerware, including Easter cups, plates, napkins and straws. Breakfast consisted of grapefruit, muskmelon, grapes and oranges. Probably the biggest hit (next to primate chow) was the morning banana, almond milk, coconut flake smoothie topped with violet flowers.



Setting up the streamers and the forage is a pretty exciting time and the chimps will often watch from the windows of the loft area that overlooks the Greenhouse. There’s usually a lot of food squeaks, head nodding and intense watching from the chimps, as staff and volunteers use their skills to transform an area into a party room.



And what would Easter be without an Easter egg hunt? Young’s Hill is the perfect place for just that. We also “planted” carrots, beets, radishes and kohlrabi on the hill for the chimps to forage for lunch.

And finally, photos of the Cle Elum 7 enjoying their Easter party today.

















Sometimes I wonder who has more fun at these parties; the humans or the chimpanzees. Often times, weeks before a holiday or birthday party, there is talk of what sorts of items (food, enrichment, decorations, etc.) that would be “chimp approved” that can be used to throw the party. Then there’s the time and energy that go into the preparation of the food, enrichment and the actual party setup (and clean up too). Every single bit of it is completely worth it, once we see how much the chimps enjoy the parties.

Parties are a way of breaking up the routine of day-to-day life and we’re more than happy to make this happen for the chimps, but we certainly do not do it alone. We want to be sure to offer a huge thank you to everyone that helps make celebrations like these so special, including Jayne Roepke, Lisa Stuverud, and Patti Sims. Thank you for all of the holiday decorations, enrichment, eggs and food. You helped make this Easter a hit!!


Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

As we’ve mentioned before, chimpanzees are very territorial and it’s within their nature to defend their home against strangers. In order to be intimidating, they will usually stand up on their legs, swagger, and their hair will stand on end (pilo-erect). Then, they usually bang something, vocalize, or otherwise make some sort of threatening noise. Threat displays are just that—displays. It’s all just to show how scary they could be, if you don’t watch out.

Sometimes, dominant chimpanzees want to show the others in their group that they could be pretty scary if they want to be. It helps solidify their role as the leader in the group—the intimidation aspect strengthens their control. A dominant chimpanzee will occasionally display their dominance with no provocation at all (or at least, nothing immediately observable).

Here’s a video of exactly that, a display just for the sake of displaying. It doesn’t mean that Jamie is angry or upset about anything, it’s just something she does to remind everyone (chimpanzees and humans) that she’s the boss around here.

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