Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Happy Birthday, Marsha!

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Bruce Wagman in honor of Marsha Perelman on her birthday! Bruce and Marsha are both amazing friends to not only the chimpanzees, but to animals everywhere, and we’re thrilled to celebrate Marsha’s special day here today! Bruce shared this wonderful message about today:

“About ten or more years ago, through the most random of coincidences involving asbestos, I was introduced to Marsha.  Over the course of time since then, she has been a client, a teacher, a student, a partner, and most important of all, a dear friend.  And she has been an invaluable supporter of the Cle Elum Seven and other chimpanzees, in more ways than anyone can count, but in essence, by giving them her heart (while keeping big chunks of it for her dogs).  All sorts of animals are so lucky Marsha’s heart was born.  As an example of Marsha’s heart in play:  When I told Marsha about the lives of the CSNW chimps before they got to their Cle Elum bliss, her immediate response was, “I just want to go there and meet them and tell them I’m sorry.”  No need, Marsha.  Your actions have made that clear.  Happy Birthday to a true companion along the road to make up for what has been done to the world’s superior species.”

Many thanks to you, Bruce, for sponsoring such a special day in honor of Marsha! We are so full of gratitude to have humans such as yourselves sharing your incredible hearts in the world and for all you both do to make the lives of not only these seven very special chimpanzees better in every way possible, but for the countless other amazing beings whose lives you’ve made a difference in.

Happiest of birthdays to you, Marsha, we hope your day is full of all the love, joy and comfort you provide to so many others! Thank you so much for being part of our chimp family. And hoots of happiness to you from these seven beautiful chimp people:














Negra close-up

Snake alarm!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Chimpanzees are very territorial and they are quick to respond if an “intruder” is spotted in their territory. If the intruder is someone who elicits fear or concern in the chimps they will respond by a vocalization known as “alarm calling.” This morning while the humans were cleaning the chimp house we suddenly heard loud alarm calls coming from Young’s Hill. When I ran out to see what all the hubbabaloo was about I could tell the chimpanzees had discovered a snake basking in the warmth of “Negra’s Cabin” and were banding together (well, with the exception of Burrito and Negra who watched from the safety of the greenhouse) to handle the situation.

After the crisis was averted everyone gathered in the doorway to Young’s Hill, their heads sticking out to survey the hill. But fierce Foxie bravely marched out all on her own, stood bipedally a safe distance from the cabin and gave things a final look to make sure the coast was clear for her family. Foxie may be little, but she is fierce.

this is what it’s all about

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

After a very successful gala and the outpouring of support for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest’s plans to expand, plus the incredibly exciting and long-awaited public announcement about the new sanctuary in Georgia, Project Chimps, I had all sorts of profound and deeply-felt sentiments to share in this blog post.

But then, this morning, I filmed Foxie and Jamie playing. I laughed out loud watching them and decided that all I really needed to share today is this, because this is what it’s all about:


Spring mornings

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Springtime at the sanctuary is our favorite time of year – the chimps wake up extra happy and playful and then spend the morning picking wild greens and taking in the view from the top of Young’s Hill.

Intangible expansions

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

I’d like to say that I no longer think of the decades the chimpanzees spent living as biomedical research subjects in open slat cages the size of a bathroom stall, the last couple of years which were in a windowless basement. But I do. I’d like to forget the images of my friends’ familiar eyes peering out from between the bars that their familiar hands clung to. But I can’t. I wish I couldn’t picture them having spent their days – their years – with no enrichment, nothing to nest with, no room to rip and run and climb, unable to engage in natural chimpanzee behaviors and family relationships, or just be free to be themselves, however that looked. But these thoughts, and most importantly the chimps’ histories, are inversely proportional to the growth and expansion they demonstrate with each passing day, season, and year.

We are fast approaching the anniversary of the chimpanzees’ arrival to their sanctuary home eight years ago, on June 13th. Eight years! And yet every single time I see them foraging on the hill, climbing new structures and taking in unobstructed views, pushing their own comfort levels with such courage, grace and dignity, it takes my breath away. No matter how many times I see all these moments in each of their lives, it never for one second feels less than wondrous and breathtaking.

And this morning, one of now countless particularly beautiful mornings the chimpanzees have had here, was no different. As they foraged for breakfast al fresco on Young’s Hill, as they traversed seemingly every inch of every structure, their hair shining in the sun and blowing in the breeze, moving as a family, each step through the electrifying green grass another step further from their histories, my friends’ familiar eyes cast to the expanse of sky and valley and mountain beyond, I watched, my heart on tiptoe.





Burrito and Jamie:




Foxie and Annie:


Foxie and France Dora:






Annie and Missy:




Jamie taking in her new viewpoint from the new structure, Twister:




And then moving on to check out the view from Jamie’s Tower:


web_jamie_head_peeking_over_ her_tower_kd_IMG_2409


And not to worry, Jody and Negra were both at the far reaches of Young’s Hill foraging for breakfast with a side of wild greens right along with their family, but unfortunately my photos of those two beautiful ladies didn’t turn out.

The Queen of late night

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

While Burrito and Annie utilized their bipedal skills to navigate the growing grass on Young’s Hill in the hopes of finding a missed piece of forage, or a new patch of wild greens sprouting up…






Jamie, of course, opted for something a little higher up.




And in other news, if you’ve been following the blog for awhile you’re probably aware that as the weather grows nicer boss lady, Jamie, often keeps us out late walking around the perimeter of Young’s Hill with her. After the chimps are served dinner at 4:30 they typically start heading inside to collect their evening food puzzle and make their nests for the night (unless you’re Jamie). The humans’ day ends at 5:30 after the chimps are all safe inside and mostly asleep. But if anyone (again, Jamie) wants to stay out late, we stay until they are ready to come inside. But who do you think stayed out past bedtime this evening?…


Yep, that’s Negra!! Sitting on her current favorite mound at the very top of Young’s Hill happily eating prickly lettuce! No matter the evening sky is growing darker with the threat of a storm coming, the Queen is in no hurry to come in. So it looks like we have a second boss lady in town. But that’s what sanctuary is all about. And this is probably a rare job where one’s heart grows a little bigger every time your bosses make you work late.



Water and Ice Enrichment on a Hot Day

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

There’s a whole crew of people here building a new structure on Young’s Hill today! We will do a big reveal on Monday, so start making your predictions as to what the structure will look like.

Because there are humans on the hill, the chimpanzees don’t have access. And today is HOT! It feels like summer. With these two circumstances combined, we needed to come up with something cooling and time-occupying for the chimpanzees. We decided on water and ice enrichment.


I’d say it was a hit.



Annie drinking from table



Missy picking up ice

Missy eating ice

Missy eating ice while looking at camera



Burrito next to table

Burrito chilling out

Burrito drinking water



Foxie with water


Jamie making up her own enrichment (of course):

Jamie with toothbrush and water 1

Jamie with toothbrush and water 2

Jamie with toothbrush and water 3



Friday, May 6th, 2016

Of all the things we share with chimps – the ability to use tools, the capacity for language, the intelligence required to plan ahead and solve complex problems, and so on – none seems quite as relevant to the question of whether they deserve our compassion as how they react when they are tickled.