Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Safety in numbers

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Hank the hawk continues to use the sanctuary as his hunting grounds. But while the chimps were once scared of him, some of them are starting to enjoy having him around, if only for the excitement that he provides.

This morning, Missy was sitting quietly on a climbing structure on Young’s Hill.


Foxie was nearby, with troll in hand.


Missy approached Foxie and reached out her hand, holding it under Foxie’s chin.


Then suddenly, she stood up, climbed down the ladder, and swung on the fire hose.


She leaped off the fire hose and into a full sprint toward the top corner of Young’s Hill, where the hawk had been perched just days before.


As soon as she reached the top, she turned and ran back to the climbing structure.


And swung on the fire hose again.


The other chimps took notice of Missy’s antics and started to move towards the top of the hill. Missy continued jumping, leaping, and tight rope walking while they gathered.


They began to congregate on the platform closest to the top of the hill.


They all looked around for any sign of the hawk.


Finally, Jody walked toward the corner to get a better look.


But Jody, it seems, does not share Missy’s sense of adventure. Not yet, at least.


For now, she’d rather play it safe.


The relentless hawk

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The hawk saga has continued this week and the chimps are still on high alert. Last week, J.B. posted about a hawk that caused the chimps to be somewhat apprehensive.

Here’s a couple shots of the hawk (we’re calling him Hank).



Since Hank has been hanging out this whole week, the chimps are more used to his presence, but they are still very territorial. Today, Missy was still a little apprehensive and took cover inside the tunnel, and then ran back toward the safety of the chimp house. But Foxie, Jody, and Jamie were on patrol letting Hank know who’s in charge.

Missy emerging from the tunnel:


Foxie, Jody, and Jamie on alert:

And then on patrol to secure the rest of the territory:


Jamie took one last look back to make sure Hank learned his lesson:

It’s really great getting to see the chimps exhibit such a naturalistic behavior—patrolling the fence line and defending their home.


More ways to help the chimps!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

One of my favorite things about our gala auction (and online auction, too!) is that people who bid on items not only give generously to support the chimps, but they get a nice tangible item too. Win-win! There are many different ways to help support the chimps, from sponsoring a day of sanctuary to becoming a pal to one of the Cle Elum Seven, to participating in our fundraising events, and even just in your everyday shopping!

Awhile back we posted about how Amazon’s program AmazonSmile will donate a portion of sales from everyday things you shop for on Amazon to the sanctuary (read more on how to set that up here). We also have a program set up through Fred Meyer, a northwest one-stop-shop store, and a way to help the sanctuary when buying or selling on eBay through eBay Giving Works. You also can apply for a credit card that helps out the chimps! All win-win deals. Check all those options out on this page.

One new thing we added to that page was our connection with Cars 4 Causes, an organization which takes vehicles, gets them prepped for sale, auctions them off and then gives a chunk of the proceeds to the sanctuary! My family actually recently took advantage of this opportunity and donated our boat that I remember taking camping trips in as a child. It went up for auction and did really well—but unfortunately, the high bidder backed out last minute for financial reasons and so the boat is back up for auction. Seattle-area friends, please spread the word about this auction! And if you or anyone you know is thinking about getting rid of a vehicle, consider donating it to Cars 4 Causes to support CSNW.

Here’s some pictures of the chimps, as a reminder of who you are supporting with all these fun and unique ways to donate:





Rainy day

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Sometimes on a rainy day, all I want to do is cuddle up with a blanket or two and read a good book or even take a nap. That has not been the case for Jamie today. She has kept herself quite active with the help of volunteer caregiver Becca, despite the rain. She has already walked around Young’s Hill four times in between heavy rain periods. And when it did start raining harder, she took action right away and ran the rest of the way around the hill.


When she was not walking around Young’s Hill, she was flipping through magazines and inspecting some of her boots. And she even allowed herself some down time to sit quietly.



Waiting for the boss

Friday, October 17th, 2014

The chimps spent most of the morning inside due to the rain. When it finally let up, Missy ran straight for the far corner of the hill. Something was up.


Jody followed after her but seemed nervous about getting too close.


They both looked around for reassurance.


Annie was perched safely on the bridge, and showed no interest in putting herself in danger.


And Neither Foxie nor Burrito showed any willingness to come down from their platform to join the patrol.


Finally, Missy spotted Jamie at the bottom of the hill and asked for her help with an outstretched arm.


Jody’s hair was standing on end (also called “pilo erection”), showing her nervousness. She approached Missy for reassurance.


Neither seemed to have the courage to get any closer.


At one point, Missy got spooked and decided to bolt, leaving Jody all by herself.



Lucky for her, help was on the way.


With Jamie on the case, Missy decided to rejoin the group.


They headed toward the top corner of Young’s Hill.


As it turns out, the subject of their apprehension was a hawk that had been roosting on one of the fence posts. The chimps promptly scared it away.



Jamie is so cool in moments like these. While Missy ran around frantically and Jody looked on helplessly, Jamie calmly strutted her way up the hill, totally confident in her ability to protect her home from invaders. I guess there’s a reason why she’s the boss.


Droopy lip vs heavy lip

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

My all time favorite chimpanzee facial expression is the “relaxed face with drooped lip.”

Jody is famous for her drooped lip face. In fact, I discovered today that if you do a google image search for “drooped lip chimpanzee,” the first three images that come up are of Jody!

But there’s another set of perhaps not as famous lips among the Cle Elum Seven – those of Negra. Rather than classic drooped lip, we like to describe Negra’s lips as “heavy.”

Below are some examples of each. What do you think is more charming – Jody’s drooped lip or Negra’s heavy lip?



Jody drooped lip face profile

web Jody in grass drooped lip face YH IMG_2441

web Jody sit on structure YH drooped lip IMG_3467

web jody relaxed face drooped lip GH (dm) IMG_8183

web Jody close up drooped lip Young's Hill YH IMG_5486


Jody drooped lip while walking





web Negra room four close up arms crossed lip out looking toward window

web Negra funny lip close up outdoor area IMG_0112

Negra heavy lip with eyes closed


Grooming is so cool

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

We’ve talked about the importance of grooming among chimpanzees before, and it’s pretty well known what an essential aspect of life grooming is for most primates. Below is a video of very good friends Burrito and Foxie grooming, with Missy (off-camera), occasionally also grooming Burrito.

There’s a lot of cool things about grooming. In a comment on a post back in 2009, I mentioned some of the following:

The basics: aside from the social aspects, grooming is the removal of dirt and debris and the tending to wounds (licking and picking scabs). It’s why chimpanzees don’t need baths – they do a really good job of cleaning themselves and each other – no water necessary.

The debris found on the grooming partner is not necessarily consumed, even though the lips are usually involved in grooming because chimpanzees use their prehensile lips, almost like another set of fingers, for many activities like inspecting objects, turning the pages of a magazine (in captivity), and especially in grooming.

Increased grooming often occurs after a conflict to reassure and/or “make up” with one another and to cement social bonds. Grooming has a calming affect, which is easy to see when you observe chimpanzees grooming one another. A study of wild chimpanzees that used non-invasive methods to collect urine samples after grooming bouts found that oxytocin (sometimes referred to as “the love hormone”) levels were higher in bonded grooming partners than in samples collected of chimpanzees who had not been grooming or had been grooming with a “non-bond partner.”

Regarding lip movements during grooming: it is common for chimpanzees, as well as other primates, to “lip smack” or “teeth clack” or make other “sympathetic mouth movements” when grooming (also when performing other fine motor behaviors – like many of us who move our tongue a certain way when we’re really concentrating on a task).

Each chimpanzee does his/her own thing, Burrito is a lip smacker (he may teeth clack on occasion too), Foxie is a teeth clacker, and Annie makes raspberry sounds with her lips. The intensity of the mouth movement/noise will increase if something (especially a wound or scab) is found during grooming.

Some scientists have hypothesized that these sympathetic mouth movements were an evolutionary step towards spoken language. Our friend Gabriel Waters and [former] Central WA University professor Dr. Fouts published a study on this theory a few years back:, and there was a book with this premise called Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language, which I admittedly still need to read, that argued that gossip for humans is what grooming is for chimpanzees and other non-human primates.

So, with all that information, here’s the video of Burrito and Foxie strengthening their friendship through grooming today:



Friday, October 10th, 2014

As volunteers at CSNW advance in their training, there comes a point when they are tested on their ability to identify the chimps. Understandably, this can cause some anxiety. After all, when you are new to being around chimps, you can’t help but focus on how different they look from us, instead of how different they look from each other. At first you look for prominent features and try to put them together like a puzzle:

Missing ear + Big belly + Bald head = Negra

Missing toes + Heart shaped brow ridge + Hairless forearms = Jody

Perfect posture + Intense gaze = Jamie

Notch in ear + Kind of looks like Shrek = Annie

Slight build + Troll in hand = Foxie

No neck + Silvery back = Missy

Testicles = Burrito!

But then one day it all comes together, and instead of seeing individual features, you see personalities. Instead of seeing parts, you see people. And you wonder how on earth you could have missed it before.
















Today is in memory of Deborah Silber

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Anne Woodward in memory of Deborah Silber. Anne shared that Deborah was someone “who loved all animals and left the earth too soon.”

Anne, thank you so much for choosing to include the chimpanzees in your wish to honor Deborah and her life. What a beautiful way to be remembered. And although Deborah is no longer here, it is so lovely that she continues to inspire others through her compassion for animals. We’re honored that you thought of the chimpanzees in her memory.

Beautiful Annie:


Small Pleasures

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

I think one of the pleasures of sanctuary that brings Jody the most joy is being able to harvest her own plants from Young’s Hill.