Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Testing Testing…123

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Hello to all the CSNW blog readers! My name is Anna Wallace and I’m the newest staff caregiver to join the team. I’m really excited to be going through training here and getting to know more about the Cle Elum 7! Today, as you may already know, is my first blog post. Not only is it my first blog post, but it is also my first time taking photos of these very photogenic beings. I thought I would share with you my favorites from the series of pictures I took this afternoon under Elizabeth’s watchful guidance.

Negra and her droopy lip.

Handsome Mr. Burrito, lounging in the portrait studio.

I hope to share many more photos and a more detailed account of my training in the weeks to come!

Grab bag Tuesday

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The chimpanzees are ultra low-key today. They have all spent the day relaxing this warm summer day and most everyone has been tucked away in their nests or out exploring Young’s Hill. On these kind of days it can be tough work for the paparazzi to get any photos, so one has to loiter in the hopes of getting anything. But eventually a few of the ladies were willing to oblige.

Jody, enjoying a relaxing moment in the greenhouse.




Foxie was having fun running back and forth from the spigot to me with mouthfuls of water and getting pretty excited about me anticipating being spat upon (as is evidenced by her hair being pilo-erect). This is a favorite game of hers and though she didn’t spit any at me she does a pretty good job making you think she might. Which is, I’m sure, half the fun.




And the beautiful Missy.



Recovery and Reunion

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

I’ve never seen a chimpanzee sleep so soundly and for so long as Burrito did after his dental procedure yesterday. He slept from mid afternoon yesterday straight through to this morning.

Burrito sleeping in recover room

J.B. and I decided to leave the playroom empty so that Burrito could have a peaceful rest without the girls disturbing him, They spent the day in the greenhouse and Young’s Hill. Around 7:00 last night I opened up a couple of the front rooms for the girls for the night, leaving one empty as a buffer between him and them.

Even with the noise of operating doors, Burrito continued to sleep soundly. Burrito’s position in Front Room One meant that the girls couldn’t see him. They sure did try, though. I had taken the photo above of him sleeping, so I decided to show that to whoever wanted to take a look. Jamie stared at it for a very long time – I’ve only seen her look at photos that long when they are of herself.

Jamie seemed reassured that Burrito was okay, and made her nest up on the bench in Front Room Three, with Foxie bedding down next to her. Negra was very eager to make a nest. She chose a spot on the floor in Front Room Three and used most of the blankets that were in that room, so I handed out more. Jody made her nest on the lower bench in Front Room Four, which allowed her to see down the hallway.

When Missy and Annie went back out to the greenhouse after trying to see Burrito, I went out to see what they were up to. It turns out they had decided to camp out on the top of the structure of the greenhouse.

Here’s Missy making her nest at the top of the structure:

Missy nesting in the greenhouse


And here she is, all covered up and ready for sleep:

Missy covered in sheet


I handed out more blankets to Annie, and she made her bed next to Missy:

Annie nesting

Annie nesting


When I went back a few hours later, Burrito was still sleeping, and either Missy or Annie had moved into the upper bench in Front Room Four. I didn’t want to disturb sleeping chimpanzees, so I don’t know who it was, but either Annie or Missy had a nice sleep out in the greenhouse, which was probably a first for an overnight!

This morning, Burrito was much more alert – all that sleep served him well!

He was anxious to get back with the group, but we wanted him to rest up some more, which was probably good because the ladies had a fight this afternoon, so it was just as well that he stayed out of that.

As is the routine after a fight, grooming commenced. Here is Missy, Jody, and Foxie:

grooming after a fight


Burrito was back to his usual self by the late afternoon:

Burrito holding toy

Burrito holding toy to mouth

Burrito with toy in mouth


By the time dinner came around, everyone was insisting that they be reunited. And so they were.


In the photo below, Burrito is standing bipedally and Foxie, Negra, Jody, and Missy are all rushing to greet him.

Jody and Foxie and Negra greeting Burrito


Foxie was particularly enthusiastic with her greeting:

Foxie greeting Burrito


And here’s Mr. B doing what he loves most – eating. He’ll be on a soft food diet for a few days, so there will probably be many more baked sweet potatoes in his future:

Burrito eating baked sweet potato


Today is in memory of Robert Ruggeri

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Rachel Ruggeri in memory of her father, Robert Ruggeri. Rachel shared this note about today: “My father, who passed away on 7/25/13, loved animals big and small. We miss him dearly.”

Rachel, thank you so much for including the chimpanzees in remembering your father, Robert, today. You have both made a difference in their lives. All of us here at CSNW are so sorry for your loss and we are touched to be able to play a small part in honoring his life. What a lovely thing that he and love of animals continues to live on through you. We are all holding you and your family in our thoughts today.




Burrito in Recovery

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Today was Burrito’s big dentist’s appointment. A month ago, after we noticed he had fractured a lower canine tooth, he had an initial exam to help determine the course of action and his ability to withstand anesthesia. You can read about that exam in this blog post written by J.B.

The echocardiogram from his first procedure showed some cardiac disease, as expected, and confirmed that the treatment we have had him on for the last three years was appropriate.

Today, we owe a debt of gratitude to the chimps’ local veterinarian Erin Zamzow and tech Amanda Carner, veterinary dental surgeon Loic Legendre, his intern Adriana Regalado and veterinary technician Barbara Boyle, nurse anesthetist Kurt Smudzinski, CSNW volunteer Rebecca Smudzinksi, and the staff and volunteers who came as support crew. And we are so grateful to everyone who helped us fundraise for the clinic, allowing the chimpanzees to receive medical treatment at home.

One thing that we’ve learned about Burrito with these past two procedures is that he can tolerate A LOT of sedative and anesthetic drugs. Once he was finally completely sedated, he was in the skilled hands of the veterinarian team. The canine tooth that was recently fractured was extracted, and a front tooth that had been broken for some time was also pulled after reviewing x-rays taken on the spot.

Burrito tooth extraction

Right now, he has a whole circle of compassionate people watching over him (we feel your concern and caring too!)

compassion circle

Based on his quick bouncing back last time, we have no doubt that he’ll be back to his usual self, toy in mouth, with the girls in no time… just with two fewer teeth.

Burrito with toy in mouth

Burrito with blue stick in mouth

Burrtio with toy in mouth

Burrito with block in mouth on YH

If you’d like to add your support for Burrito and crew, we have a wishlist full of a variety of needed things that you can gift to the sanctuary, and / or you can make a donation in Mr. B’s honor. Thank you for all of your support!


Taking in the view

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

When the weather is just right, Negra likes to make a nest in one particular corner of the upper platform in the greenhouse. After breakfast when the other chimpanzees head out onto Young’s Hill, Negra grabs an armful of blankets and climbs up to her spot.


Sometimes she sleeps, and sometimes she just lies there and gazes out over the valley. This is her view:


I often wonder what the chimps think of the outside world. Most of the chimps were in their thirties when they arrived at the sanctuary seven years ago. We believe that most of them had never been outside before. After decades in cages inside windowless buildings, the first glimpse of the outdoors must have been startling and a little awe-inspiring.


By now, Negra is accustomed to fresh air and sunshine and the wide open spaces at the sanctuary. But the view never seems to get old for her.


Still, one does need to sleep occasionally.



An afternoon in the greenhouse

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Grooming is an important part of chimpanzee culture and whether in the wild or captivity, chimpanzees spend a lot of their time engaged in this behavior. If you think about it, so do we humans! Chimpanzees will groom each other or themselves to remove dirt and debris, attend to wounds, during times of relaxation, and most importantly to build and maintain bonds with one another. Grooming is key to social interactions and is often used by chimpanzees to gain support and remain in good standing not only in the community, but with higher ranking chimps.

The chimp house was very quiet this afternoon before lunch so I went to check on everyone and found several people grooming Jamie, as she basked in her role as the boss lady. (Clockwise: Jamie, Burrito, Foxie and Jody):


Jamie being groomed by Burrito in background:


Jody appointed herself the paparazzi police and immediately positioned herself next to me, at the ready to poke the camera should I continue to take photos of the boss. Though she eventually decided it was more fun to play a game of tickle (a rare Jody happening!):


Lunch service arrived and after a lot of excitement everyone headed up to the top of the greenhouse. (L to R) Foxie, Annie, Jamie, Negra (barely visible in between the blue chairs) and Jody:


Each of the chimpanzees has their way of attempting to gain the server’s attention, especially when they see something they really want (or want more of). Because Jamie is the most dominant in the hierarchy we typically offer things to her first. And she has no problem gesturing if she wants us to serve something other than what’s being offered at the moment for something she prefers on the tray. She will also let us know if there is a particular piece, or color, of fruit or vegetable she wants. For example, she will ask for red peppers over green if she sees them in the bowl and she refuses carrots that aren’t peeled. She will even gesture for us to return any offending carrots to the kitchen for peeling.

Foxie blows incessantly loud raspberries, Negra claps and sometimes clacks her teeth on the caging, Annie blows raspberries and stomps her feet, Missy shakes her head vigorously, and Jody just positions herself in front of the server. If someone is being served something she wants more of, she will just move in front of them or reach across to take it from the less dominant chimps. (This is all part of a normal chimp hierarchical society.) And then there’s Burrito who shakes, rattles and rolls, with a soundtrack of raspberries for pretty much everything on the menu. Just so we don’t forget he’s there…

Annie above and Burrito below (hair standing on end with excitement):


Missy pulls up a chair for her lunch:


On the other side of the caging was their server today, Whitney, one of our volunteer caregivers extraordinaire, getting a workout. Chimpanzees make for a rowdy lunch crowd.




Foxie decided to eat her lunch with me and made her way back to me with each serving to sit in the sun as I took photos next to her.


First course: tomatoes!


Back again with the second course: green peppers!


And finishing up the meal with primate chow in to-go bags:


Burrito, very pilo (hair on end), is often high arousal during mealtimes. Food is just very exciting if you’re Mr. B:


Jamie headed back inside with her chow to make an lunch nest:


Happy Birthday, Jeanna!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

This day of sanctuary was also sponsored by John Henderson in honor of Jeanna McClellan’s birthday! John shared the following message about today:

“Jeanna has taken a real interest in the chimps since learning about the sanctuary a few years ago. She has a particular soft spot for Burrito. We visited last summer around Jeanna’s birthday, but weren’t able to do it this year as she has just started law school and is taking an accelerated summer class.”

John, thank you so much for thinking of the chimpanzees and including them in all that you and Jeanna have to celebrate. Jeanna, all of the primates here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW wish you the happiest of birthdays! And congratulations on beginning law school! We wish you all the best in your new adventures.

The ever-charming, Burrito:


Making Friends

Monday, July 20th, 2015

New staff caregiver Anna is busy making friends with the chimpanzees. Some of the chimps warm up to new people right away, and others take their time. It’s a piece of cake to win over Burrito; he just wants someone who will play with him 24/7.

Chimpanzee Tool Use and Jamie’s Smartness

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

We all know by now that chimpanzees are really smart. And, if you are familiar with Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, you know that boss Jamie chimpanzee often shows off her intellect. Sometimes she even impresses those of us in the know, however.

Case in point: the other day I was doing a perimeter walk with Jamie and she turned back to gather two big tumbleweeds. At first I wasn’t sure what she was doing – she doesn’t usually pick up tumbleweeds on our walks. Plus they were rather awkward to carry. They kept slipping out of her hand as they scraped against the ground, but, each time, she would pick them back up and continue the walk.

Jamie gathering tumbleweed

At one point she stood up bipedally and put one of the tumbleweeds in her mouth for easier carrying. She also took a good long look at the boots I was wearing, and I became clued in to her plans.

Jamie bipedal with tumbleweed

When the walk was complete, I met her and her tumbleweeds in the greenhouse. Jamie pulled up the big black tub to sit on.

Jamie altering tumble weed

And then she proceeded to alter one of the tumbleweeds to her liking:

Once she was satisfied with her tool, she pushed it through the caging and began to groom the boot I was wearing (which, of course, she had picked out prior to our walk).

Jamie grooming boot

Imagine the forethought that it took for her to go through the process of seeing an unruly tumbleweed well before the walk was finished to the grooming session that she imagined would happen minutes later. She’s one smart cookie!