Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

To Each Her Own

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

One of the most important things we offer to the chimpanzees here at the sanctuary is the freedom of choice. We provide the ingredients for a happy, healthy life, and the chimps take what they want and leave what they don’t.

Blankets are one of those ingredients. We put out so many blankets each day that there are plenty for everyone who wants them. Surprisingly, though, not everyone does.

Most of the chimps use the blankets we offer to build big, soft nests. The process of building the nest is just as important as the end result. They painstakingly wrap each blanket around their bodies or spread them out underneath them in just the right configuration. Sometimes they weave the blankets through or around other objects or structures.

This morning Jamie and Foxie were each “nesting” in their own way just a few feet from each other in the playroom, and the difference in their styles was apparent. They do have one thing in common: they like to have their favorite things nearby.

Foxie and a troll doll:

Jamie and a boot:

But that’s where the similarities end. Jamie likes to gather as many blankets as she can and twist and wrap them into a big, cushy circle.

Foxie, though, prefers the heated floor.

As much as it might make our own bones ache a little to see her lying on the bare floor, we appreciate that everyone has their own idea of comfort. Foxie makes her own choices, and we’ll always celebrate her in all her quirky glory.


Monday, February 27th, 2017

Long-time followers of the blog have probably seen us write about the ever cool and aloof Missy. She doesn’t mind the humans, but we don’t really serve a purpose for her outside of her daily needs and she usually prefers the company of her best friend, Annie, and chimp family.  And she has places to go and things to do. That’s the beauty of choice.

The chimps have been here for nearly 9 years now and it’s really only been in the last couple of years that we have seen Missy take more of an occasional interest in engaging with the humans. For example, it’s becoming more common for Missy to ask us to groom her or engage in a game of tug o’ war. And as Missy’s partner in Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) I have definitely seen an increase in her excitement upon seeing the humans and her taking the initiative to engage us in a game of chase, just for the sake of play (as opposed to just brilliantly leading the humans to do her bidding like picking something from the garden or opening the barn doors up for her).

Missy is not a particular fan of having her photo taken (I can relate). But today she came up and sat next to me at the caging and just hung out. I always ask the chimps before I take their photo, which I did with Missy, and this is typically where she turns her back to the camera or takes off. But she tolerated me and the camera in her face and graced me with one, fleeting nano second of eye contact with those beautiful eyes. What a gift for us all. Then she pushed her lemon peel out at me, nodded her head, and took off for a game of chase.

Today is in honor of Lucinda Almy-Hamilton

Monday, February 27th, 2017

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Michael Hamilton in honor of Lucinda Almy-Hamilton! Michael shares that Lucinda is an anthropologist with a keen interest in non-human primates.  Each year Lucinda shares her passion for the chimps with so many of her students and we truly appreciate her contributions to furthering the awareness of these special individuals and issues primates face with so many future generations of humans.

Michael, thank you for always thinking of the chimpanzees as you celebrate Lucinda! We appreciate all you both do to bring comfort, joy, and hope to the chimps’ lives.

Lucinda, we hope you have a wonderful day! Thank you so much for all you do for the chimps and to open the minds of so many others about the unique and special individuals they are.

Jamie is a woman of many interests. Her strong and beautiful mind is an never-ending landscape of possibility:

who they are

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Today I was thinking about what we know about the chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest – all of those little things that add up to who they are, or at least how we see them.


Foxie with Dora


I was thinking about how different experiences shape personalities and how exposure to new environments, activities, and other beings lead people to discover new things about themselves.



Jody looking at snow


And I was wondering if the chimpanzees realize how much better they know themselves now than they did eight and a half years ago.





For the love of boots

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Volunteers Stephanie and Patti brought Jamie a western wear catalogue today. It’s always amazing to watch her flip through the magazine and linger over the pages with her favorite boots.

Jody: Head, Shoulders….

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Part of being a Level II volunteer at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is working towards passing identification tests for all of the chimpanzees.

We have some new interns from Central Washington University’s Primate Behavior and Ecology Program right now who are working on their id skills.

Something about helping with id today got a song stuck in my head…


Here’s Jody’s…



Jody head



jody shoulders



Jody knees


and Toes

Jody toes



Jody knees


and Toes

jody toes 2





Jody eyes


and Ears:

Jody ears


and Mouth:

Jody drooped lip face


and Nose:

Jody nose



…. what do you think? Could you id Jody now?


Actually, a few years ago, Elizabeth did some blog posts for each of the chimpanzees to help blog readers with id that are probably much more helpful – check them out if you’re interested!


Balancing act

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Each time we build a new play structure on Young’s Hill, we connect it to nearby structures using fire hose. This allows the chimps to move from place to place without touching the ground, a feature that is particularly handy when that ground is covered in snow. We also shovel pathways for them, but hey, tightrope walking is way more fun.

Their balance is incredible, aided in part by those opposable big toes.

And when they lose their balance, they can always fall back on their superhuman strength.


Fall in Love with Negra

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

On Valentine’s Day/Share the Chimp Love day, we are sharing the last of the “Fall in Love with” videos.

The seventh video in the series is all about Negra, the Queen of the sanctuary:

Big thanks to everyone who has made a Share the Chimp Love donation or has become a Chimpanzee Pal!

The heart is getting fuller, though there’s plenty of room left for lots more love, and a whole day for you to Share the Chimp Love.

share the love heart

Share your favorite video on social media today! You’ll find all seven of them on the Share the Chimp Love page and on the sanctuary’s Facebook page.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


These boots aren’t just made for walking.

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Jamie and her beloved cowgirl boots during a morning nesting session:

Fall in Love with Missy

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Watching the video below, there’s no question that Missy fills the sanctuary with energy. Just watch.

Thanks to all of the chimps’ fans for filling the heart with love with your Chimpanzee Pal sponsorships and Share the Chimp Love donations so far. Tomorrow is the big day!

filling heart