Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The Hoot! Gala this year was a huge success! The generous donations of many supporters this weekend has left the humans at the sanctuary buzzing with excitement for the future of the sanctuary! If you missed our newest announcements, check out the video below!

As I walked around Young’s Hill with Jamie this morning, I stopped and watched the chimpanzees play and forage together. Missy and Annie were two that caught my eye first. Two long time friends, enjoying each others company.


Annie and Missy have been best friends for years, but at some point there was an introduction and a beginning to their relationship. I cannot help but think about the other chimpanzees that may soon join the Cle Elum 7. We can only hope that they will form friendships like those that Missy and Annie have already established. Maybe even be a part of the Missy/Annie friendship?! When the newcomer chimpanzees get the chance to enter Young’s Hill for the first time, who will be their companion for their first outing? The possibilities are thrilling!


MISSY on the 6th Day of HOOT!

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Since we are racing around getting ready for tomorrow, Missy seemed the perfect choice to acknowledge the eve of the HOOT! 2016 gala.

Missy with Hoot! logo

When Young’s Hill was first opened, we described Missy as “a spring that was coiled up for decades, just waiting to be released.” She embodies the idea that sanctuary is not just a place of comfort and safety, but also a place of opportunity. When Missy finally had the opportunity to run, she seized it and did not let go.


In rare moments of stillness, which could easily be misinterpreted as resting or recuperating, Missy is in fact plotting her next adventure. Her eyes survey the landscape for the next hill to climb or the next tightrope to walk. Thirty years in a cage is a long time…too long to ever let an opportunity go to waste.


We’re so excited about the opportunities before us this year, and we intend to move forward with every bit as much determination as Missy. Tomorrow at Hoot!, we will raise funds for the next phase of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest so that more chimpanzees can call this sanctuary home.

As chimpanzee research comes to an end, let us ensure that every chimpanzee can finally feel the joy that Missy has discovered.



JAMIE and friendship on the 5th Day of HOOT!

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

I had a realization not long ago. It occurred to me that Jamie is one of my best friends. We have mutual interests (shoes, being outdoors, eating grapes), we’re generally happy to see each other, we have routines that have developed over time, and I think we’ve established a mutual respect for one another over the years, which has been heightened by the two of us working on Positive Reinforcement Training this last year.

You may have gathered from previous posts, that Jamie is not exactly obvious best friend material… but that’s part of what makes our friendship all the more meaningful to me.

For this 5th day of HOOT! with just two days left before the big event, I share with you this photo of my friend Jamie:

Jamie contempative

I have another friend that I would like to acknowledge today. Pam Lehnert and her husband Marc Warner. I am indebted to them both for helping to make HOOT! 2016 not just your average event, but a beautiful and (literally) heart-filled one.

Pam has been an event volunteer since our very first gala in 2009 and there is no way I would be organizing this level of event without her help.

Pam and Marc not only gave their time and labor towards HOOT!, they also are Chimpanzee Champion Sponsors of the event!

A big thanks to them and to all volunteers who helped plan and will be working on Saturday!


JODY for the 4th Day of HOOT!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

HOOT! 2016 really is just around the corner! That means that we are working out the last details with multiple check-lists and lots of phone calls, texts, and emails flying back and forth among gala committee members, attendees, board members, and volunteers.

It’s times like these that I think about Jody and her managerial skills.

While most of the time Jody is quite independent and content to do her own thing, when there are group “projects” to do – like moving from one area to another for meals – Jody can always be counted on to make sure the other chimpanzees are on task. She’s not pushy; she always encourages “compliance” in the gentlest of ways, sometimes even using play to encourage a lagging friend to follow the group.


Jody urging Foxie inside


Jody is also the only chimpanzee of the group of seven who will lend a hand simply when we ask for it, just so that we can continue with the routine of the day.


It’s pretty difficult to choose, but I think this image of Jody is my favorite of the seven images that will be available for bidding on during the event’s Happy Hour.

jody hoot image


I’ve chosen Jody to inspire me today to get through my to-do list and remember the teamwork that it takes to accomplish just about everything in life. Maybe she’ll inspire you too.

Speaking of teamwork, today’s countdown is thanks to these generous Chimpanzee Champion Corporate Sponsors, who not only support HOOT! but are good friends to the sanctuary throughout the year.

brotherton logo



Karen Ducy Photography


ANNIE and Family for the 3rd day of HOOT!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

J.B. and I met Annie eight and a half years ago, along with the rest of the chimpanzees who were to become The Cle Elum Seven.

From the very first blog post we wrote about her (read it here), when we talked about Annie, we talked about her friendship with Missy. Her clear love for and reliance on her friend Missy was her defining characteristic.

But Annie is coming into her own.

While some of the chimpanzees are taking advantage of the sanctuary and living out the childhood that they never had (notably Foxie – just watch the video re-posted to the blog yesterday), I think Annie has been experiencing a bit of a rebellious adolescence lately.

It was clear from day one that Annie was at the bottom of the hierarchy of the seven chimpanzees. We’ve written about her anxiety and lack of confidence in social situations many times. And we’ve told you that her confidence has skyrocketed in the last few years. What we might not have mentioned is that she’s moved beyond confidence to downright moxie.

As a general rule, timidity is not a trait that is revered in the chimpanzee social world. Chimpanzees can be a rough bunch, and if you’re not prepared to walk your talk (or would that be walk your pant-hoot?), you might find yourself in a perilous situation.

While Annie remains sweet and soulful, she is learning that she can be just as tough as the other ladies and gent, and she is much less likely to back down during conflicts now. In fact, sometimes she is the one starting them. If she feels wronged, she won’t just have a self-directed anxiety-laden outburst as she did in the past, she will let the group know she’s not only upset, but she’s not putting up with it.


On Saturday, we will be raising funds at HOOT! for our Expansion Fund. We have some big dreams for the future of the sanctuary, and we will be sharing these, including a surprise announcement, at the gala.

We have received a matching grant pledge from the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund for $50,000. Laura Bonar, Fund Advisor for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Fund and Chief Program & Policy Officer at Animal Protection of New Mexico, will be one of our special guests at the event!

That grant and the matching funds that we will raise on Saturday will go towards our first phase of expansion. This means that we will be adding more chimpanzees to the group in the near future.

We are still seeing the individual personalities and the group dynamics of the Cle Elum Seven change after almost eight years, and this will be a whole new and thrilling chapter in the lives of Annie and her six family members.

Who knows how we will be describing Annie’s position three or four years from now. What I do know is all of the chimpanzees will continue to change and grow and experience life in new ways.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Annie hoot image

FOXIE for the 2nd Day of HOOT! & Wild Chimpanzees with Doll Rocks

Monday, April 25th, 2016

We were all so touched by the incredible Sponsor-a-Day posted from Megan and her husband earlier today in memory of Baby H.

So, it seems appropriate to make today about celebrating Foxie. A video came up in my news feed on Facebook that is also Foxie-related. It is a short interview with Dr. Richard Wrangham and a fascinating look at juvenile chimpanzees in the wild who seem to be treating rocks as dolls.

Here’s a link to the video:

Does this seem like a doll-loving chimpanzee you know?




Because we are counting down to HOOT!, I’m sharing this image that will be one of just seven exclusive metal prints that can be bid on during the Happy Hour reception at the event on Saturday (minus the HOOT! logo):

Foxie image

Wondering what else will be happening during the Happy Hour? So much! Each guest will receive two drink tickets good for beer, wine, or two custom cocktails (delicious non-alcoholic punch is also available). And everyone can give with their hearts at the Hope, Love, and Home stations staffed by the best friends of the Cle Elum Seven – the sanctuary staff. Guests can ask questions, learn more about the chimps, and contribute directly to the area of care that speaks to them the most while earning a heart to personalize and add to the Heart Board.

Today’s countdown to the celebration of the year, just days away, is thanks to chimpanzee friends Tracy Headley and Poppoff Inc who are Happy Hour sponsors for HOOT!


Poppoff Logo


I am getting so very excited about the event this year, I might just do some pirouettes and spinning today in honor of Foxie.

On the First Day of HOOT!

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

We are counting down to the HOOT! gala, just seven days away on April 30th.

This first day of HOOT! is thanks to Martha Faulkner Real Estate for being the Seattle Met Photo Booth Sponsor and thanks to Iain Moffat and Mohamed Jantan for being the Program Sponsor.

MarthaFaulknerLogoR2_4.4 copy


HOOT! includes an in-person live auction, but shhhh – anyone can take a peek at what attendees will be bidding on this Saturday via the auction preview site (note this is a preview site only, there will be no online bidding available). However, if you aren’t able to attend, but are seriously interested in bidding on an item, get in touch (

In addition to the live auction items, guests will have the opportunity to bid on unique photo prints of each of the chimpanzees. This First Day of HOOT! is for Burrito:

burrito with hoot logo


Burrito seemed appropriate for day one because graphic designer Lori Kiers used his hooting face to promote the event this year:

hoot with burrito crop


Thanks to everyone for already making this event a success! I am so looking forward to celebrating with you! Share your love of Burrito today if you’re excited too!


Love a Chimpanzee Day 2016

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

The Cle Elum 7 had a brunch forage to celebrate Love a Chimpanzee Day. Make sure to watch to the very end of the video to give yourself just one more reason to rejoice!

Today is for chimpanzees, Monica, and Gary Best

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Several years ago (seven to be exact!), the chimpanzees’ good friend and supporter, Monica Best, chose to celebrate her birthday by proclaiming April 23rd “Love a Chimpanzee Day” and she has sponsored it each year since for the chimpanzees. And this year as we celebrate chimpanzees and Monica we are also celebrating in memory of Monica’s dad, Gary Best.

Monica, you have the biggest heart, full of generosity and compassion. We are so grateful to you for all you do not only for the chimps, but for so many other animals in the world. We are honored to celebrate your dad here today – he must have been quite a man to have a daughter like you. All of us here are wishing you a day full of the comfort, love and joy you provide for so many others.

Happy Birthday, Monica, and Happy Love a Chimpanzee Day!




Wild food…and medicine?

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

The chimps spend a lot of time looking for food on their own this time of year.



They love to eat grass, dandelion leaves, prickly lettuce, mustard, and many other wild plants, as well as the bamboo and fir trees that we have planted.



Sometimes they sit down and eat them outdoors; other times they collect them and return to the greenhouse.




Every once and a while they find something new that we haven’t seen them eat before, or that we didn’t even know was growing on the hill. And when they do, it sends us racing to the computer in a panic to figure out what they’re eating and to make sure it’s safe!


This morning, while the other chimps were munching on grass, Jody seems to have found herself some wild rose – a new one to us. She’s by far the most adventurous eater of the group and she will go to great lengths to eat small amounts of certain plants.




Wild chimps are known to self-medicate, a behavior known as zoopharmacognosy. Some swallow Aspilia leaves whole to treat parasites, others eat clay to ease an upset stomach. This type of behavior is most likely culturally acquired, and chimp culture is not something the Seven ever got to experience in the lab. And of course there is almost no overlap between the plants found across equatorial Africa and the plants found on Young’s Hill, so it’s doubtful that they have any type of innate knowledge of which particular plants to eat. But sometimes I’m struck not just by the type of plants they’re eating, but by the way in which they eat them. If you’re hungry and you want to eat grass, you might as well just stuff your face, as Burrito so happily demonstrates here:

web Burrito eat grass YH IMG_5379

But we occasionally see the chimps carefully swallowing a single blade of grass at a time, even carrying that single blade from the top of the hill back to the greenhouse. And sometimes, instead of chewing the grass first, they fold it up like an accordion and swallow it whole, like wild chimps do with Aspilia.


Is it possible for captive chimps to learn a basic form of self-medication on their own? The Seven are routinely screened for parasites, so it’s highly unlikely that they are knowingly treating a parasitic infection as their wild counterparts do. But as is the case with so much that fascinates us about chimps, where intelligence, instinct, curiosity, and culture are inextricably interwoven into complex patterns of behavior, it certainly leaves you wondering…