Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’


Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Luxuriate in the sun, play, repeat. Temperatures were at freezing this morning and the chimps spent a lot of time lined up along the catwalk of the chimp house luxuriating in the sunny windows and grooming and/or playing with one another. At one point, everyone was bunched together enjoying the warmth of the sun and one another.

Annie was particularly enjoying herself, stretched out in the bright light half asleep. But that didn’t stop her from a lazy game of toe grabbing (and nibbling) with her best friend, Missy:



(Notice Annie gently play-biting Missy’s toes) 🙂



Eventually, Missy gave in and decided to groom Annie, arm poised mid-air, basking in the warmth of the sun and friendship:


The celebration for Vicki continues!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Today was also generously sponsored by Jim Horton in honor of his mother, Vicki Fagerlee, for her birthday! We are so touched by Vicki’s family who have come together throughout the day to celebrate Vicki and the chimpanzees who mean so much to her!

Jim, thank you so much for honoring your mother in such a thoughtful way! What an amazing gift to be able to make a difference in the lives of these seven special individuals as you all celebrate someone who is so special to you.

Happy Birthday, Vicki, from all of the primates at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with the chimpanzees and including them in your special day! We are so grateful to you and your family for ensuring that for all their days forward, the chimps’ lives will be full of love, family and home.

And since you share a birthday month with the boss lady, Jamie, I thought we should recall all the pumpkin joy this month brings. If the chimps could send you a birthday wish, they might say with any luck you have your own head stuck inside a yummy pumpkin right now! 😉 But we humans just hope you have something like a nice cake or anything made of chocolate that brings you equal happiness. 🙂


web_jamie hold pumpkin halloween birthday party playroom IMG_1170

Jody testing out Jamie’s past birthday pumpkin:

web Jody kiss pumpkin party playroom IMG_1184

web Jody bite pumpkin close up playroom IMG_1183

Negra and Jody:

web_negra jody full face eat food pumpkin halloween party birthday playroom IMG_1235





Jody and Missy:

web_jody missy kiss reassurance pumpkin eat food halloween birthday playroom IMG_1261



Burrito. Of course.

web burrito head in pumpkin halloween birthday eat food funny playroom IMG_1309

Happy Birthday, Vicki!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Mary Horton and family in honor of their mother, Vicki Fagerlee, for her birthday! Vicki is such a wonderful friend to the chimpanzees and we’re thrilled to celebrate her birthday here today! Mary shared this message about this gift in honor of her mom:  “There is nothing she would like better for a birthday gift than to help out the chimps.”

Mary and family, thank you so much for your generous and compassionate gift for the chimpanzees and Vicki! It’s easy for us to say perhaps, but when you look into the beautiful eyes of these seven amazing chimpanzee people it’s clear that the gift of sanctuary means everything to them. And as such, it does to us as well.

Vicki, we are so happy to have had the opportunity to meet you recently and are thrilled to have you as part of our chimp family! From our hearts, thank you for embracing the chimps, welcoming them into your life and making their lives better at every opportunity. All of the primates here wish you the happiest birthday yet! We hope your day is filled with all the love, comfort and joy you provide the chimps with, and I suspect so many others as well.




Foxie side glance






Negra close-up





In memory of Deborah Silber

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Anne Woodward in memory of Deborah Silber. We are so touched when people think of the chimpanzees in remembering their friends and loved ones. Anne shared this message about today:

“This donation is in memory of Deborah Silber, who loved all animals and was a big fan of CSNW.”

Anne, thank you so much for sponsoring a day of sanctuary for the chimpanzees in memory of Deborah. It makes us happy to know how much she cared for the chimps and that we get to share in celebrating her life. Your compassionate gift allows Jody and her family to enjoy their days in more ways than they could ever have imagined. And we can’t thank you enough for that. We hope today returns all that joy to you as you remember and honor Deborah today.

Beautiful Jody:


Jody close-up forage queen


In memory of Carlene

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Joseph Garza in memory of his wife, Carlene Olsen-Garza. Joseph, Carlene and their family have become a huge part of our chimpanzee family. They do so much to ensure that the chimpanzees live out their days filled with love, comfort, joy, adventure and as much freedom as they can possibly experience. We are graced to be able to think of Carlene and her beautiful heart and spirit every day here at the sanctuary, especially when we see the chimpanzees enjoying their home from atop “Carlene’s Tower.” Joseph shared this beautiful message about Carlene:

“Carlene was a steadfast follower of CSNW right up until she lost her battle with cancer on this date in 2014. She was a great admirer of the work that the Sanctuary did and read with great interest anything to do with her three favorites: Jamie, Burrito and Foxie. She was always eager to share the goings-on of these three as well as the others at the end of our day. To see the sparkle in her eyes and the joy in her voice while speaking of her “friends” was infectious. Today we honor her memory by doing what we can to help the Sanctuary continue its work and achieve its future goals.”

Joseph, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to you and your family for continuing to honor Carlene’s memory through her love of the chimps. We are honored and so happy to call you all part of our chimp family. It’s an incredibly inspiring and lovely thing to witness how one special being such as Carlene continues to make such a difference in the lives of so many, both human and non. Our thoughts and hearts are with you all today as you celebrate Carlene’s life. We know you are missing her more than words could ever express. We are wishing you comfort in her memory and each other and hope this fills your days with the hope, love, home and sanctuary that you continue to provide for Annie, Missy, Burrito, Negra, Jody, Jamie and Foxie.







A couple of moments with a couple of chimps

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Missy enjoyed a moment of solitude and sunset on the Twister:




While Foxie said an upside down goodnight, tucked up high on a bench in one of the front rooms:


And thank you hoots heard ’round the world to all who made possible and all who were able to participate in Great Apes Giving Day yesterday! You made a huge difference in the lives of these seven chimpanzees! We are so thrilled to see so much support given not only to our chimp family, but to so many other great apes in need all over the world.



Thank you, Cheyenne, Cobby, Minnie and Maggie and the San Francisco Zoo Primate Team!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Cheyenne Coles, chimpanzees Cobby, Minnie, and Maggie, and the humans of the San Francisco Zoo Primate Team in honor of Great Apes Giving Day! Cobby, Minnie and Maggie are three really gorgeous chimpanzee people who reside at the San Francisco Zoo. Cheyenne shared this lovely message about today:

“Thank you so much for the work that you do!! Our staff enjoys reading your beautiful blog and utilizing your impressive enrichment database to create items for our own apes (and monkeys). You are a true inspiration for what great chimp care looks like. Thank you for rescuing, rehabilitating, and caring for the Cle Elum Seven with the respect and love they deserve. Today we honor you all!! Love, ~ The SF Zoo Primate Team and Chimps Cobby, Minnie & Maggie”

Cheyenne, Cobby, Minnie, Maggie and all of the primates at the San Francisco Zoo, thank you so much for such a gracious gift for the chimps! We are really touched by your sweet and generous sponsorship and honored that you would think of Annie, Missy, Jamie, Jody, Burrito, Foxie and Negra today. We’re so happy to hear you have been able to utilize our enrichment database for the apes and monkeys you care for! Thank you for all you do to care for your primate family. We are thinking of them all today and wish them the same days filled with the love, care, comfort and joy the Cle Elum Seven are so fortunate to receive thanks to supporters like you. Learn more about Cobby, Minnie, and Maggie and plans to improve and expand their home here.

Our Queen Negra:

Negra behind grass

Jamie, Foxie and Dora:

Foxie doll on back

Annie and Missy:


Burrito, Jody and Foxie:


Today is officially Great Apes Giving Day! If you’ve already given, thank you SO much!! And if you haven’t had a chance yet you have until 9:00 pm (PT) to participate and support Missy and her family’s second chance! There are so many wonderful organizations caring for so many amazing beings and your support, in every size and shape, makes a difference (and this year African organizations are also included)! Thank you for your kind and compassionate hearts and all you make possible for these very special beings!

Chimpanzee-Caregiver Interactions

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

For everyone’s safety, humans have very little physical contact with the chimpanzees at the sanctuary. We are always separated by caging, chimp-proof glass, or electric fence. Staff and a select group of volunteers who have gone through extensive safety training are permitted to have what we refer to as protected physical contact with the chimps. Here are just a few of our safety rules outlined in the training packet for Level III volunteers (the only volunteers permitted to interact with the chimps):

Never let your fingers or any other part of your body penetrate the caging.

Never lean on the caging with any part of your body.

Never put yourself in a position where a chimpanzee is able to pin or grab you. Pay attention to where your body is in relation to the caging at all times. Remember that the chimpanzees can grab clothing, hair, hoods, scarves, shoelaces, etc.

Never take your eyes off the chimpanzee you are serving or interacting with. At the same time, use your peripheral vision to monitor all other nearby chimpanzees.

We consider the chimps our friends, but they are wild animals, and they are powerful and unpredictable. We take these, as well as our many other, safety rules very seriously. In this video you’ll a see a few of the different types of contact interactions that trained caregivers have with the chimpanzees.

Thank you, Michele, Brady and Brendan!

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Michele McLaughlin and her children, Brady and Brendan! Michele shared this message from Brady and Brendan: “We love all the chimps, they are cute!”

Michele, Brady and Brendan, thank you so much for caring about the chimpanzees and sponsoring a day of sanctuary for them! Your kindness and compassion truly makes a difference in their day and lives. Gifts such as yours help us keep the chimps happy and healthy in so many ways! It helps us buy the chimps yummy, healthy food to eat (which makes Burrito happier than almost anything else), new toys and enrichment to play with and keep their intelligent minds active, and things the humans need to keep the chimps’ home clean and cozy. They really wouldn’t be living the lives they do without you. And we are so grateful to you!

And speaking of cute, this guy, Burrito, knows a few things about that:



web_Burrito peekaboo hand over eyes fish in mouth enrichment greenhouse GH IMG_7208 copy

Missy’s 2nd Chance & Those Left Behind

Friday, September 30th, 2016

This year for Great Apes Giving Day, I decided to highlight Missy’s story. If you are new to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest or haven’t been following every single blog post, you may have missed the story of how Missy almost didn’t make it to her sanctuary home. Take a minute to read this story on our Great Apes Giving Day page here.


support Missy


There’s another story that we don’t tell very often.

The Cle Elum Seven should have been the Cle Elum Eight. There was an eighth chimpanzee living at Buckshire with Missy, Burrito, Negra, Jody, Annie, Foxie, and Jamie who died two years before the Cle Elum Seven came to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. He was a male chimpanzee and we believe his name was Ceaser.

I never met him, but I think about him, and what he represents, all of the time.

It is such an amazing time in history right now with the end of biomedical testing on chimpanzees in the United States. And it’s a frustrating time because there are hundreds of chimpanzees who are waiting for their opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in a sanctuary home where the only mission is to provide them with the best care possible.

And I know there will be chimpanzees like Ceaser who won’t have this chance because they will die before they are released from their laboratory life.

It’s a fact that not all laboratories are like Buckshire, where the Cle Elum Seven lived. Most modern laboratories holding chimpanzees have some sort of outdoor space, even if it’s a small concrete fenced in area, and most chimpanzees living in laboratories now live with other chimpanzees rather than in single cages.

I would guess that the majority of people who are directly caring for chimpanzees in laboratories really care for, and even love, the chimps. This may seem strange to those who have never met someone who works in a laboratory as a caregiver, but I have met many people who have held those positions in their past or still do now. Sometimes they didn’t really know what they were getting into, and they are awakened to the injustices of using chimpanzees in biomedical testing after they came to know the chimps in labs first-hand. Often they stay in those positions because they want to make a difference in the day-to-day lives of those under their care.

Philosophically, though, laboratories and accredited sanctuaries are worlds apart. How you view a person or an animal affects how they are cared for. For accredited sanctuaries, the one and only aim is to provide the chimpanzees with a good home full of choices and social interactions and the space to figure out who they are. For laboratories, even if they are not actively using the chimpanzees in testing, the chimps are valued and viewed in terms of their contribution (for which they did not give their consent) to humans and their research questions.

This is a fundamental difference; and it’s the reason why it pains me to think about the chimpanzees, like Ceaser, who will die in laboratories even though the research has ended.

And then I think about Missy, who almost didn’t have the last eight years of her life at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.




Every day is about making sure that the chimpanzees in our care fully experience a life that’s all about them. It’s our moral obligation to try to give back to them at least some of what we, as a society, have taken. And we want to be able to do this for other chimpanzees coming out of laboratories.

This is why fundraising days like Great Apes Giving Day mean so much to us, and to other sanctuaries and rescue centers.

Please consider making a donation to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, learn about all of the organizations participating in this global day of giving for great apes, and watch this Tuesday (October 4th) when the competition for the prize money heats up.

In the end, the chimpanzees and other great apes that you give your donation towards are the big winners.

missy sepia