Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Happy Birthday, Harry Hmura!

Monday, July 6th, 2015

This day of sanctuary was sponsored by Alison Chapot in honor of Harry Hmura’s birthday! Alison has been a long time supporter and friend of the chimpanzees and in celebrating today she shared, “Harry is a dear friend and advocate for apes around the world.”

Harry Hmura is a musician and volunteers his performances to bring awareness to great apes and the sanctuaries that many of these individuals call home and assist with fundraising. Gaining inspiration from Dr. Jane Goodall and all of the great apes, Harry created a unique project called, I AM, I AM, in which he composed and produced an album using great ape vocalizations. “The entire collection of great ape vocal recordings, beginning in 2007, of chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons including background environment sounds were recorded at sanctuaries or in natural indigenous habitats around the world.”

“I AM, I AM Project’s mission is sharing half the proceeds for much needed funding with sanctuaries around the world. Sanctuaries are amazing places, innocent beautiful lives, the spirit between humans and great apes. They are home to individuals, each unique from the next with different names and faces rescued from laboratory research, the entertainment and pet industry, the bushmeat trade and loss of habitat. They provide life time care, rehabilitation, companionship, shelter, protection, even sometimes reuniting family members, bringing new meaning and desires to life.”

Alison, thank you so very much for thinking of the chimpanzees and giving them a special day as you honor your friend, Harry, and celebrate his life!

Harry, we are so grateful to you for the work you do to advocate for great apes and sanctuaries worldwide. Thank you for sharing your talent and compassion by bringing awareness of these incredibly special beings to so many others and helping to make a real difference in their lives.

Jamie, always living her life to the fullest:


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web Jamie YH view of valley below_MG_4302

Fun on the 4th

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

What a day! The chimpanzees had a terrific 4th of July, starting with a party in the morning, set up by caregiver volunteers Patti and Connie and new staff member Anna.

Here are just a few party photo selections.

Burrito licking a smoothie shot glass clean:

Burrito with shot glass

Jamie managed to get both of the piñatas:

Jamie rocket wreckage

Jamie with star pinata


But she shared with Missy:

Missy with star pinata


After we finished cleaning the playroom, Patti and Connie put some ice and pomegranate juice in the pool. Jamie dragged the pool around with her as she foraged for the kale that was also thrown about the room, then she and Jody settled in for some ice eating, with other chimps coming by once in a while. Jamie would pick up the ice with her hands, put it in her mouth, dry off her hands, then repeat.

Jamie eating ice and drying her hand


Today was our first summer visit day, led by J.B., so we put out a forage on the hill for lunch that included pea shoots from the sanctuary garden, harvested by caregiver volunteer Denice who dropped by just to say hello and do a little gardening. The pea shoots were a hit, as was the corn. It was another hot day, so most of the chimps gathered food from the hill and brought it in to the cooler greenhouse for leisurely snacking.



Jody carry pea tendrils



Annie eating corn and pea tendrils

Annie eat corn and pea tendrils

It wasn’t long before Jamie wanted to go back out on the hill to explore and look for more food, and she asked me to tag along after I put on her new pair of favorite boots.

She explored the hill as though it were an obstacle course, definitely appreciating the freedom she is able to have in her sanctuary home:

Jamie walking on fire hose bridge


This is the new shaky bridge that connects the two towers:

Jamie walking across the new tower shaky bridge


Meanwhile, Burrito took a nap in the playroom:

Burrito sleeping


Dinner included a pretty special treat for everyone – Field Roast frankfurters!



Foxie with hot dog



Jody with Field Roast frankfurter



Missy eat Field Roast frankfurter


I didn’t get any good photos of Negra today, but maybe that’s okay, since she was the star of yesterday’s blog post.


We hope you all have a great and safe 4th of July!


Negra braves the heat

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

It’s difficult to catch Missy in an action shot because she moves so fast.


It’s even harder to catch Negra in an action shot because…well, she’s just not very active. But even temperatures in the high 90’s couldn’t stop Negra from parkouring her way through Young’s Hill, troll in hand, to grab some broccoli and cauliflower during today’s lunch forage.





Foxie has been holding on to a new troll with its purple hair still intact. She treasures these while they last (Jamie and Jody usually rip the hair out).


Speaking of hair, a lot of people have trouble telling Annie and Foxie apart, so here’s a good side-by-side shot to help you out. Annie looks like someone just rubbed a balloon on her head. Not unlike a troll doll, come to think of it.


And Burrito has been showing off a bit more of his physique, thanks to his recent exam. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t build muscle on a diet of fruits and vegetables. Your results may vary, however, unless you also stick to Burrito’s daily workout routine that includes leaping, swinging, and banging on everything in sight as you terrify everyone around you in a formidable dominance display and then running for your life as six angry girls chase after you.



Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Some of the most important things we can provide the chimpanzees are choices. The choice to explore their outdoor area or to nest inside. The choice to play with their chimp and human friends or nap. The choice to play with enrichment or ignore it. The choice to stay in one area or not when we are trying to shift them for meals or cleaning. The choices are many and we particularly love it when the chimps take it upon themselves to engage throughout the day in what they find interesting as long as we provide the options.

Choices relieve the inevitable bouts of boredom these intelligent, curious and active people experience at times being in captivity. And choices of how the chimps wanted to spend their moments and days was not something they often received prior to living in sanctuary. Yes, they are still in captivity and ultimately, the humans control their environment and schedule, but we do our very best at all times to work cooperatively with the chimps and give them choices at every possible opportunity. We want the chimpanzees to feel as much as possible that they finally get to call the shots. And really, they do.

These photos will hopefully provide an idea of how the chimpanzees choose to spend their days, in snippets:

Negra, dozing in the morning sun in the greenhouse when I first arrived:


Foxie and Dracula troll enjoyed a toothbrush while waiting for breakfast:


After breakfast, Burrito headed up Young’s Hill to climb one of the structures:


He is exhibiting a fear grimace here (notice it looks very similar to a human smile, but means quite the opposite for chimpanzees – when chimps smile they only show their bottom teeth). Burrito sometimes fear grimaces when doing new things on the hill until he feels more comfortable. He may be feeling a little nervous as he courageously walks out to the end of the plank:


Feeling more comfortable back on the platform:


Jody wasn’t far behind Burrito, but decided to survey the area for some wild greens instead:


Success! And she decides to head back to the greenhouse:


Annie chose to head straight for the new structure and enjoy a little quiet time and the view from Carlene’s Tower:


Missy decided to take the swinging bridge over to the other side:



Jamie decided to join Missy on Jamie’s Tower, but climbed the pole as opposed to taking the “simple” way up of the ladder:



Foxie joined Jamie a bit later:


While all this was occurring on the hill, Negra changed nests and took a post-breakfast nap:


Back inside later in the day, Jamie was thrilled to find one of her favorite enrichment items out – her “kitchen sink” filled with water and paper towels at the ready. She immediately wiped her nose:


And washed and dried her hands:


In between lunch and dinner the chimps also enjoyed checking out their growing garden and sampling some fresh peas and green onions, playing chase and grooming with caregivers and each other, cooling off with an ice cube snack, and napping throughout the day. And Jamie went on to check out new boots and enjoy an evening of walks around the hill while the other chimps headed to bed in the cooler playroom after dinner.

Annie, utterly relaxed:


As caregivers, continually providing the chimpanzees with new and interesting options of how to spend their time is one of our biggest challenges. And seeing them utilize all their options and sometimes create their own, is one of our biggest joys. And hopefully, one of their biggest joys as well.

Burrito’s exam

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Recently, Burrito fractured a canine tooth. We don’t know how it happened exactly – in fact, we only became aware of the injury when we noticed it pointing straight out of his mouth, perpendicular to his other teeth. As with other significant injuries, we began by administering oral antibiotics and pain relievers and arranged for our local veterinarian, Dr. Zamzow, to come take a look. Dr. Zamzow then consulted with Dr. Mensching, also a veterinarian and a member of our board of directors, and Dr. Bezner from Save the Chimps, to come up with a plan to deal with Mr. B’s broken tooth.

If you don’t know this already, I should point out that chimpanzees are remarkably tough. Believe it or not, Burrito never missed a meal, and didn’t even seem to favor that side of his mouth when chewing. It’s really hard to appreciate how stoic chimps can be until you witness it yourself.

Despite his own lack of concern about the injury, a broken tooth can present serious risks for more severe pain and infection down the road, particularly the canines which are large and deeply rooted, so we decided that it would have to be repaired or extracted by a veterinary dentist. But as you may know, Burrito is already being treated for symptoms of heart disease, and that makes decisions about medical interventions a bit more complicated due to the risks of anesthesia. But when an intervention is required, for whatever reason, it presents an opportunity to learn more about his overall health, so we gathered an amazing group of people to help with Burrito’s treatment. And it was all made possible because you helped us build an onsite veterinary clinic.

Before we can make any decisions about how the treat the tooth, we need x-rays. Yesterday, two vet techs from Valley Veterinary Hospital in Ellensburg came to the sanctuary with digital radiography equipment to get pictures of his teeth and jaw. These x-rays will be shared with a board certified veterinary dentist, who has agreed to come to our clinic to treat Burrito, whatever that treatment may be. And because of our concerns about Burrito’s heart, we were grateful to have the assistance of a huge team of veterinary cardiologists, anesthesiologists, residents, and vet students from the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, all led by Cardiologist Dr. Lynn Nelson.

After receiving anesthetic injections inside the chimp house, Burrito was wheeled to the mobile clinic where he was intubated and placed onto gas anesthesia for the procedures. The anesthesiologists were able to ensure his safety by monitoring his airway gases and reading his vitals using ECG, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse ox equipment. Dr. Zamzow drew blood for CBC and chem profiles and obtained an urine sample.


With such a huge group of people, teams worked in shifts as much as possible.


But the clinic turned out to fit more people than we had expected. Technicians obtained dental x-rays while the cardiology team began the echocardiogram.


This imaging of Burrito’s heart will help us evaluate his initial diagnosis and may potentially provide avenues for better treatment. It will also help us determine how well he might handle the anesthesia required for a longer dental procedure. We will share the information we obtain with the Great Ape Heart Project to help improve the lives of other captive chimpanzees.


When the tests were complete, Burrito was placed back inside into one of the front rooms to recover from the anesthesia. The girls had to wait outside in the greenhouse until he was ready to deal with all of their excitement.


After a few hours of rest, he was ready for visitors on the other side of the caging. Jody and Foxie were particularly concerned about their buddy, but eventually all of the girls came to groom him through the bars. For his safety, he was not allowed to return to the group until he was 100% recovered from the anesthesia.


Both the general and injectable anesthesia can upset the stomach and make you feel all worn out, so Burrito took an additional day to lounge around by himself, waited on at all times by his staff of caregivers.


With the help of some anti-nausea medicine, he was feeling good enough this evening to join the gang for a dinner forage on the hill.

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In the coming weeks we will learn more about Burrito’s health from these tests, and the veterinary dentist will be able to decide the best coarse of action based on his x-rays and what the other tests tell us about his ability to tolerate prolonged anesthesia.

Exams like this aren’t easy on a chimp, and they’re pretty tough on the people who care about them too. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. Zamzow, Dr. Mensching, Dr. Bezner, Valley Veterinary Hospital, and the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for providing the best care a chimp could ask for. And to everyone who helped us build and equip our onsite clinic: You made it possible for him to receive this level of care. And I know you would agree that this guy deserves nothing less.



Cool, Cool Missy Chimpanzee

Friday, June 26th, 2015

It may be a scorcher outside, but Missy is as cool as ever. She just has that “one of the cool people” vibe about her, don’t you think?

Missy cool bridge

Missy cool windowsill

Missy cool ledge 3

Missy cool ledge 2

Missy cool ledge 1

Missy cool close-up

Lunch with the chimpanzees

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Most meals at the sanctuary go remarkably smoothly considering we have seven hungry and eager chimpanzees to serve at once. Occasionally, someone swipes someone else’s food or a scuffle breaks out, but more often than not, peace reigns.

That’s not to say that all the chimps always wait patiently, though. In this video, you’ll see some of the ways the chimps get our attention during meals and tell the server to please hurry up – hand clapping (Negra), vigorous head nodding (Missy), and blowing raspberries (Foxie). This video is longer than most of the ones we post, but hopefully it will give you some idea of what it’s like to be present at mealtime at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

Just another day in sanctuary

Friday, June 19th, 2015

There has been a whole lot of napping going on in the chimp house today. Well, at least for the chimpanzees. Our recent high heat is taking a break and though it’s still warm, the wind has been cool and refreshing. We were thinking the chimpanzees should be out on the hill enjoying the comfortable day, but they had other thoughts. And really, how nice is it to enjoy napping peacefully on a warm day with a cool spring breeze blowing through the house?

Jamie fell sound asleep while we cleaned the playroom, but made sure to keep one foot on her recent gift of new black cowboy boots from the chimpanzees’ (and humans’) good friend, Tony Garza:


Jody fell asleep in a sunbeam in the greenhouse:


The chimpanzees often hold their feet as they sleep which I find so endearing:


Annie, who has taken to nesting next to Negra in the afternoons (though Negra was in a darker spot that didn’t photograph well, she was nesting just to the right):


After a brief forage in the play room, Jamie decided to take another nap in front of the barn doors, her hair (and the trolls’ hair) blowing softly in the breeze:


Though the other chimps were in unfriendly photo spots, Missy was tucked away in a cozy nest in the loft, Burrito was sound asleep on the catwalk with a rainbow slinky in his mouth, and Foxie was in a sunny corner of the greenhouse playing “toss the Dora.”

Just another day in sanctuary. And another day with our hearts full of gratitude.

Burrito and Becca

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Burrito can’t get enough of playing with his human friends. This afternoon he kept volunteer caregiver Becca busy.