Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

New heights to scale

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Construction began this week on the chimpanzees new climbing structures on Young’s Hill and they are amazing! You may recall our Share the Chimp Love fundraiser last February, in which we asked you to help us meet our goal of raising $12,000 to go toward the direct care of the chimpanzees, as well as keeping our savings on track to meet our future goals. Thanks to your incredible generosity in helping us not only reach, but surpass (!), our goal, we were also able to meet our goal of building a new structure for the chimpanzees on Young’s Hill.

The sanctuary’s founder, Keith LaChappelle, has been here all week working with J.B. and he brought reinforcements. Long time friend of the chimps, Nick (who travels from out of state each year just to volunteer his time with projects for the chimps), has also been here, along with Josh, John, Bill, and Marc. These guys have been working tirelessly in the heat to get things ready for the chimpanzees to enjoy as soon as possible.

The structure, situated at the very top of Young’s Hill, is the highest yet and comprised of two climbing towers which are connected by an amazing swinging bridge. From the chimp’s view in the greenhouse, this is the left side of the structure:


Here’s the right side:


And the entire structure:


And thanks to the generosity of Provitro Biosciences, we have been gifted with even more beautiful bamboo to add to the chimpanzees outdoor enclosure. Here’s J.B. bringing some in:


I’m not sure who is more excited, the chimpanzees, or the humans in anticipation of seeing the chimpanzees check things out. If all goes as planned, everything should be complete tomorrow and ready for chimpanzee inspection after that. Such an amazing way to end the week as we are all looking forward to our annual gala, Hoot!, this weekend.

The kindness, compassion and love you consistently show the chimpanzees often overwhelms us. We are immensely grateful to you to be in the position to continually improve the chimpanzees’ home and lives with each passing season. To be able to ensure their well being not only in the present, but also in the future, is something we could never fully express our gratitude for. And none of this would be possible without you.

The chimpanzees have spent the day relaxing in the hot greenhouse, keeping a close eye on the activity on the hill. Here are a few photos I caught of Foxie and troll, resting up for their new adventures ahead:




As part of our Share the Love fundraiser, two wonderful and generous families won the naming rights to the chimps’ new structure and they will each be naming the two towers. We will be holding a naming ceremony in the coming weeks and can’t wait to share it with you so stay tuned!

Serious face

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Yesterday, Elizabeth posted this great blog about Jamie—if you missed it, definitely check it out.

Normally, I try not to post about the same chimpanzee two days in a row, just to keep things varied, but I took some photos of the Boss today and couldn’t resist putting them on the blog. Jamie was just chillin’ in the greenhouse this afternoon, demonstrating her serious face.

After I took these photos, she came down to take a look at them. She seemed to approve, so I figured they were good to go!







Handsome Mr. B

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

I went out to the greenhouse this afternoon to snap a few photos of the chimpanzees—most of whom were lounging in hard-to-see spots, so I was out of luck. However, front and center was Mr. Burrito, looking handsome as ever.





Today is for Denise and Denis

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Denise Hathaway-Larsen in honor of her and her brother, Denis’, birthday. Denise shared this touching message about today:

“This is my and my twin brother’s 59th birthday. My twin brother passed away in a motorcycle accident in 2007. My family had the honor of visiting CSNW last summer. We have followed the chimpanzees there for several years and adore them AND their caregivers.”

Denise, it means so much that you would think of giving the chimpanzees a special day as a way to celebrate your and Denis’ lives. We are so sorry for your loss and hope you find much comfort and joy in remembering your brother and your lives together today. Happy Birthday from all of us here at CSNW!

Good friends, Burrito and Foxie:



web Burrito Foxie serious faces dora doll playrooM PR IMG_4549

Coconut crackin’

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

As part of the chimpanzees’ enrichment theme for the day, they have been enjoying forages all day! In the wild, chimpanzees spend most of their waking hours foraging for food, often traveling many miles. We try to offer forages as often as we can not only to encourage their natural foraging behavior, but to give them something exciting and interesting to do.

It’s probably the warmest day of the year here so far and we were able to put breakfast and lunch forages on Young’s Hill. What’s also great about Young’s Hill forages is that it keeps the chimpanzees engaged for much of the day as they frequently venture out throughout the day to see if they missed anything.

Dinner forage was set up in the playroom which included sweet potatoes, roasted squash, tomatoes, the best smelling yellow roses from Diana and J.B’s yard, and, the piece de resistance? The chimps’ friend and supporter, Pat C., gifted them with whole coconuts today! As we were setting the forage up I think it was the “food squeaking heard ’round the world.” We broke up a few to make sure everyone would find some and then hid a couple of whole ones as special treats for a couple people to find. Well, let’s be serious, for Jamie to find, and hopefully someone else.

As predicted, Jamie found the first whole coconut and made sure to hang onto it while foraging for everything else:


Thank goodness for those opposable toes:




Foxie found a cup of tomato juice and seemed to enjoy licking spilled coconut milk off the floor:



Negra enjoying her coconut:



Everyone got plenty of coconut pieces, but we couldn’t see who found the other whole coconut. Then we heard someone cracking it on the floor and found Missy looking pretty pleased:




Thanks so much to Pat C. for bringing the chimpanzees such a special treat! Jamie carried her coconut around in a box with her until she finished all the other forage options she wanted. The chimp house is closed up for the evening and most of the chimps are making their nests for the night as they snack on the last bits of the forage. As I type this, I’m smiling because I can hear Jamie finally trying to break that coconut open. Crack…crack…crack…

It’s a jungle out there

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Okay, so, not quite a jungle—but the grass is very tall on Young’s Hill and the weeds are at the perfect stage for chimp snacking! Everyone has been on the hill a lot today, Negra was even out there on her own for awhile!

Even after nearly seven years in sanctuary, we still see the chimpanzees growing and truly coming into their own. I find that no matter how many times we see the chimps on the hill, it will never, ever get old. It’s still so awesome to see them outside, in their element foraging for tasty snacks, and sometimes even venturing to a point where we can’t see them!

It’s moments like those that make us reflect on how incredible sanctuary is and how much you all have really changed the lives of the Cle Elum Seven. Young’s Hill would not have been possible without generous gifts from supporters such as yourselves, and the exciting new projects we have in mind would never be able to get off the ground if it weren’t for our remarkable CSNW family. Words could really never say how much your support means to us, or to the chimpanzees, but maybe a few pictures can.

Jody in the grass jungle:





Negra, all on her own munching on some grass and weeds:







We are gearing up for our HOOT! gala in a couple weeks—the biggest fundraiser of the year, where folks can help sustain the sanctuary and support more indescribable moments like Jody getting lost in the grass jungle, and Negra hanging out on the hill all on her own for some delicious dandelion greens.

This year, I have been helping get all the auction items organized and ready for the big night. I’m astounded by all the wonderful items that have been donated! We have a preview site available, so check that out and decide now what you plan to bid on!


Join us May 30th for a fun night and learn more about the last seven years of moments!

The lush life

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Today has been steamy and warm, dark skies threatening to rain in between bursts of hot sun, but not a drop has fallen. Life is full and lush this time of year. It feels as though you could see things grow if you watched close enough. The air is heavily scented with wildflowers and woven with the trilling of birds, the hum of honeybees, and the slow whine of grasshoppers.




Our bluebird pair, despite being gifted with some lovely bluebird houses made by Daniel Anderman and kindly donated to the sanctuary by he and his family, have seemingly chosen to nest on Young’s Hill. Not the wisest choice, but so far they’ve gone undisturbed by the chimpanzees:





While all this was happening outside, this was happening inside: Foxie napping.


When Foxie is happy and content she rubs her toes together. I wonder what she was dreaming about?


It must have been an adventure, because minutes after these photos were taken, Foxie suddenly woke up, swung through the greenhouse with her hair standing on end (pilo erect), Dora the Explorer in hand, and marched with purpose toward Young’s Hill. Her behavior was the same she exhibits when she wants her caregivers to chase her, but what happened next? Everyone, even Jamie, suddenly fell in line behind this mighty little lady with a purpose, as she led them out onto Young’s Hill.

Foxie and Dora lead the way with Jamie, Jody, and Burrito following:


Foxie, Jamie and Jody:


Annie and Missy bringing up the rear (Negra was fast asleep in her nest for this adventure):


Everyone began to disappear into the tall, lush grass as they foraged for wild plants. Occasionally, I caught glimpses of them in between the structures and bamboo.

Jamie and Foxie:












Who knows what, if anything, Foxie may have been dreaming about before leading the way onto the hill, but it brings to mind the words of Thoreau, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”


Making the perfect tool

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

After breakfast Jamie set out onto Young’s Hill with purpose in her step.


We watched as she very methodically selected a bamboo shoot and headed back into the greenhouse.


As it turns out, she had unsuccessfully attempted to get some peanuts outside the caging using a toy rake. The handle was just slightly too big to reach out to the peanuts.


The bamboo stick was a little too cumbersome, so Jamie needed to tweak it a bit. First she broke it in half, and then she removed some of the branches.




Now that she designed the perfect tool, she could reach the peanuts!





Cle Elum Wildlife

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

As many of you know, our beloved (and sometimes troublesome) resident elk, Ellie, has made it a very well-known fact that she is in fact a horse. Or a cow. Or a goat. Or a human! But certainly not a wild elk. Despite her outward friendliness, we still keep our distance—she is still wild, after all, and ideally we would love for her to be more wild and less attracted to sticking around humans.

Today, Elizabeth spotted Ellie up on a high hill to the south of the sanctuary property. We both laughed, saying “what is Ellie doing way over there?” And then we realized, when four other elk followed, that wasn’t Ellie at all! We got very excited to see a small herd, which is sort of amusing when we see Ellie every day—elk really aren’t novel animals to us. But a herd! So exciting.




Unfortunately, Ellie was busy breaking into our compost bin—a very Ellie-type thing to do—so she missed the herd as they passed through. As much as we wish for her to be wild, we recognize that she is a unique being. She probably will always be more human-oriented because of how she grew up. Honestly, I’m not sure she would identify herself as an elk.


Imagine growing up with another species as your primary caregivers—you would undoubtedly have some sort of identity crisis. And though it is no one’s fault that Ellie was separated from her herd and ended up living at the farm next door, it’s definitely not the ideal situation for an elk.

For a chimpanzee, living in a human home is even more unnatural, and not surprisingly chimpanzees raised so closely with humans really struggle with their identity. Elizabeth wrote about “Burrito the misfit” the other day, and it’s so true. If he had been raised in an appropriate social environment, he most likely would be alpha male.

Some other “side effects” to being raised in an natural environment are Jamie’s love of boots and Foxie’s love of trolls. Though these are just part of everyday life here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, when you think about it for a minute, it really is quite odd. But they are all unique beings and all have their idiosyncratic tendencies. For Ellie, that means rummaging through things, sitting in Diana and JB’s garden, and taking perimeter walks alongside the humans as Jamie leads the way on the inside of Young’s Hill.

For Foxie, that means delighting in these sort of funny-looking dolls with big eyes, crazy colorful hair, and hard plastic bodies. Here she is in a calm relaxing moment with one of her dolls (you can see just part of the troll in the top picture—he/she is out of the frame in the others but was still in her hand).




Today is for Jody!

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Tracy Headley in honor of her chimpanzee pal, Jody, for Jody’s 40th birthday! Jody was born in 1975, we believe in the wild. Although we don’t know Jody’s actual day of birth, we chose Mother’s Day as her honorary birthday in honor of the nine babies that she gave birth to while in biomedical research and was never allowed to raise. You can learn more about Jody’s life before arriving at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest here.

Jody’s (and all of the chimpanzees’) histories are heartbreaking. But despite experiencing the unthinkable trauma of being stolen from her own mother as a child, and subsequently not being allowed the right to raise her own children, Jody’s ability to enjoy each day in her sanctuary home is an inspiration.

Jody is a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman. She is an independent spirit and does exactly as she chooses in each moment, whether spending her time luxuriating in amazing nests, foraging for wild greens on Young’s Hill, or ever increasingly, playing with her chimpanzee family.

Some “Jody-isms” we love: she has a habit of making sure each of the other chimpanzees are accounted for when we are shifting the chimps for cleaning or meals, and she often sits in the doorway letting us know when anyone is still on the way. When all else fails, she will go and collect them. She often carries her elaborate nests from area to area when we shift the chimps (or will come running back for them) and if any blankets happen to drop in the doorway along the way, she is usually willing to come back when we ask and remove them so we can close the door. Usually. And while Jody doesn’t have a lot of need for the humans, there’s nothing better than her greeting us with a “butt bounce” when she’s happy to see us.

Tracy, thank you so much for sponsoring such a special day for such a special chimpanzee woman. Happy Birthday, Jody!! We love you!! And Happy Mother’s Day to mommas of all species!



jody nesting