Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Jessica Larson! Today also happens to be Jessica’s 30th birthday and she shared the following message:

“I honor the chimps who have taught me so much about myself and my world on this day. May they enjoy 30 plus years of happiness and health in the sanctuary.”

We often hear from people how much the chimpanzees inspire them. Even people who have not had the opportunity to meet the chimps in person often share the profound difference they bring to their lives. We are so grateful that the chimpanzees are recognized not only as the special individuals they are, but for the value and significance of what they contribute to life, in no other way than just being themselves.

Jessica, thank you so much for honoring the chimpanzees on your own special day and for your generosity and compassion of gifting them with a day of sanctuary! All of us here at CSNW wish you the happiest of birthdays!!

Jamie bright eyes

No time to rest

Friday, August 29th, 2014

I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve walked around Young’s Hill today. We started just after breakfast, with Jamie frantically gesturing towards the bin of boots in the kitchen, letting us know that is was time to begin the daily ritual. After exchanging one of my sneakers for a bright red cowboy boot, we set out together to patrol the perimeter of her two-acre enclosure. There was another walk before lunch, and then another just afterwards. Steph and Debbie went on a patrol with Jamie in mid-afternoon, and then I rejoined Jamie for another before dinner. As soon as dinner was over it was time to head out again for a couple more. And just a moment ago, at a little after 7pm, I handed my red cowboy boot to Diana, who will walk with Jamie as the sun starts to set. This might be the last, but somehow I doubt it.



Chimpanzee Photography Experience & Online Auction Opening Soon

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

I mentioned the other day that some 2013 HOOT! auction bidders had cashed in their photography experience at the sanctuary that they won at the gala.

Right now, we are gearing up for our Summer Biddin’ online auction. While we don’t have a photography session, we do have a really amazing and unique experience to bid on: a Backstage Pass to the Sanctuary!

Bidding for all items opens Thursday morning, and items are still being added, but you can and should (right now) check out how you can help us throw a spectacular Summer Lovin’ Party for the chimpanzees and get some perks for yourself in the process.

Back to Saturday. Martha and Susie were the first winning bidders for the photography session. They had a great time at the sanctuary learning some new photography skills from photographers Karen Ducey and Dean Rutz. They set up photography camp on the observation deck and learned the ropes of the professional equipment that Karen and Dean generously loaned.

Martha and Susie taking aim

Martha and Susie practicing

Martha and Susie happy

And they got some really amazing photos!! Below are just a few.


Annie on young's hill


Foxie pull up

Foxie on platform


And birthday-girl Missy, looking like her athletic self:

Missy on fire hose


Not only was it Missy’s birthday on the day they visited, it was also Martha’s! Karen was kind enough to bring a birthday cake, which of course we adorned with some CSNW style:

Martha's bday cake


Martha and Susie also took a walk with J.B. around the hill with Jamie of course following on the inside of the fence. Ellie the elk was hanging around the property and joined them too:

Ellie, J.B., Martha, Susie


You just never know what adventures await at the sanctuary, especially on a party day, which is why you should get ready to bid on the unique Backstage Pass experience and help us throw a great end-of-summer party! You don’t have to wait until Thursday to make your Summer Lovin’ party donation – do it today!

Mixing it up a bit

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Many folks have come to know the chimpanzees and their special interests. For instance, Foxie and her love of troll and dora dolls, Jamie and her love of boots and Negra and her love of nesting with a lot of blankets. Well, today, the chimpanzees decided to mix things up a bit.

Annie is usually shy in front of the camera, but not today. Here she is blowing bubbles.

Then she licked the bubbles,

and then blew more bubbles,

and even more bubbles.

Foxie, who can usually be found with a troll or dora doll had one of Burrito’s favorite toys in her mouth.

Jamie usually lets us know when we pick out the right boot she wants us to wear for walking around Young’s Hill. Today she did not seem content with just one boot. After I showed her each boot in her boot bin, she continued to stomp on the second story of the playroom floor and motion toward her bin of boots. Turns out she wanted two boots not just one!

The boots on my feet during a walk around Young’s Hill with Jamie.

Jamie with her boots after the walk around Young’s Hill.

And finally, while cleaning the Playroom, we discovered an unusually large nest of blankets in Negra’s favorite nesting spot. Thinking that it was a little bit on the large side, we decided to count the number of blankets and found that she had made her nest with 31 blankets!! Throughout the course of a day, we place a total of 60 blankets in the Playroom, Greenhouse and Front Rooms, so a 31 blanket nest is quite large and probably quite comfortable. I wonder how many blankets she will use to build tonight’s nest. Unfortunately, I did not think to take a photo, but thought I would share that with you.

Missy Chimpanzee’s 39th Birthday

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Today was Missy-centered. The theme was tomatoes, slinky toys, tomatoes, socks, tomatoes, cattails, tomatoes, socks, and kongs with peanuts in them – all favs of Missy.

At our HOOT! gala in May, one of the more interesting items we auctioned off during the live auction was a photography session at the sanctuary with professional photographers Dean Rutz and Karen Ducey. There were two lucky winning bidders, and one of the winners cashed in their session this morning – we can’t wait to share a few of their photos with you!

In the meantime, here are some that the staff took today of the birthday girl, a flashback to one of my favorite videos of Missy, and a few photos of the other chimpanzees enjoying Missy’s birthday.

Missy spent the day, as usual, in action and elusive to the camera.

In the photo below, Missy is climbing one of the tallest structures on the hill during the breakfast forage, which included a lot of – you guessed it – tomatoes!

Missy climbing


Here she is at the top with a mouthful:

Missy behind post


Later, we handed out cattails. Missy decided to take hers inside:

MIssy biting cattail


Missy escaping the watchful eye of the camera, climbing to the bridge in the playroom to enjoy her cattail:

Missy climbing stairs


Missy in a nest playing with a slinky on the catwalk of the playroom:

Missy with a slinky


MIssy removing a kong from a sock:

Missy sit window kong sock

Missy sit window with kong


We put the kongs in socks for the nighttime enrichment in homage to Missy’s own invention, and one of my favorite videos of Missy, taken in 2010 (see below):


The other chimpanzees also had a great time with all of the birthday festivities today.

Jamie explored some new enrichment in the greenhouse:

Jamie with recorder


Jamie cleaning some plastic glasses with a sock:

Jamie with glasses


Negra foraged on the hill for breakfast:

Negra forage on the hill

Negra with a strawberry

Negra with chow


And Annie, proudly, got the tomato piñata during the playroom forage:

Annie with pinata


I posted a little video on Facebook of Missy playing what looks a lot like a thumb war with Negra while they lay next to each other on the catwalk. All in all, it was a pretty great 39th birthday for one of the most athletic, full-of-life chimpanzee people that I’ve ever met. We love you, Missy!

Missy's birthday portrait

Time on the hill

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The chimps are enjoying their forages on Young’s Hill so much more now that it’s cooled down a bit.



This morning, Annie was searching high and low for something in particular. Turns out it was the primate chow she was after.




Jamie almost always smells her food before putting it her mouth. A chimpanzee’s sense of smell is not much different than our own, so this is more of a personality quirk of Jamie’s than a species-typical behavior. We jokingly say that she must think we’re trying to poison her, because she always looks so suspicious when she does it.




When Burrito is in a fight, he demonstrates an unbelievable combination of speed and athleticism. He can jump from the second story of the playroom down to the first, land on the concrete floor, and then take off running without skipping a beat. He’ll leap across the greenhouse and catch himself with one hand. But for some reason, when he’s not fighting he’s capable of tripping over his own feet.



Last night we had the pleasure of hanging out with Jamie past sunset. Most of the chimps voluntarily go to bed around 5:30, just after we serve dinner. This is just as true in the winter when the sun goes down at 4:30 as it is in the summer when it stays light until 10:00. As soon as they finish their after dinner food puzzles, they start collecting blankets to make their nests around the playroom. But summer nights in Cle Elum are beautiful, and Jamie sometimes wants her caregivers to stay out with her for a few extra walks. This was the last of Jamie’s four after dinner walks around the hill, just before 8:00. When she decided she was done for the day, she gathered her cowboy boots and a pile of blankets and headed for the playroom.


August Birthdays

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Foxie’s 38th birthday, and One Green Planet shared the birthday video on their site today. Check it out and please share!

Speaking of birthdays, we have another August birthday coming up—Missy is turning 39 this Saturday! We have big plans underway already, including all of Missy’s favorites: socks, slinkies, kongs, and tomatoes!

Here’s some recent photos of the upcoming birthday girl:




Missy and Annie (this picture was posted to our Instagram the other day for the 100 Happy Days challenge)


If you want to contribute toward the birthday festivities, make a donation today in Missy’s name, or become one of her pals!

Some things you just can’t explain

Friday, August 15th, 2014

When Foxie first came to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in 2008, she had trouble adapting. She was cautious when it came to developing relationships with new people, though given her history that wasn’t an unreasonable approach. But she was also wary of her new surroundings, especially in larger spaces. Each time she was allowed into a new area, she would cling to the walls or walk in circles around the edge of the room. She was also uneasy with all the enrichment we provided to the chimps each day. She would go out of her way to avoid walking near the piles of toys we put in the playroom, and while the other chimps would make nests each night with fresh blankets, Foxie would push them out of the way to clear a spot for herself on the bare concrete floor. Weeks passed, and while the other chimps reveled in all the new opportunities available to them, Foxie continued to find comfort in the emptiness that was all she had known for 31 years.

Then one day she met Trixie.

web_foxie trixie

It was just a doll, but Foxie was immediately drawn to it. Her reasons for choosing this troll doll, in all its pink-haired, pantsless glory, will remain one of life’s great mysteries. But we look back on that moment now as a turning point for Foxie. She hung onto Trixie and carried her everywhere she went. Supporters started sending in more dolls, and Foxie’s collection grew into the hundreds. The dolls were a source of entertainment for Foxie, but they also provided comfort and seemed to instill in her a sense of confidence and purpose. And they helped ease her into this new world filled with new people and things.

web Foxie walk YH troll in mouth dora on back IMG_7656

Whatever the reason for Foxie’s obsession, we thought it was uniquely hers. The other chimps would pick up trolls from time to time, but mostly just to initiate games of chase with Foxie. They didn’t seem to get it. This type of deep and lasting connection between chimp and troll was limited to one quirky chimpanzee at one quirky sanctuary in the mountains of Washington.

That is, until Negra decided it was time to get in on this whole “troll” thing.


For the last couple of weeks, Negra has been carrying around troll dolls everywhere. She takes them to bed and sleeps with them in her nest. She shows up at meal time with them tucked into her “pelvic pocket.”



We have no idea what makes a chimpanzee decide, at age 41 and after six years at the sanctuary, to adopt troll dolls. Maybe it’s like the chimpanzees at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia who all decided that it was cool to stick grass in their ears. Maybe she’s watched Foxie carry these things around for so long that she’s finally decided to see what the fuss is about. Or maybe Negra just realized that, after having her own children stolen from her in the lab, it felt good to care for someone, even if they are made of plastic.

Some things you just can’t explain.


The train

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

There is a train that goes along the river that is in the valley below the sanctuary. Negra often likes to watch the train go by at her window spot from the playroom—the train can be seen on the south side of the building and Young’s Hill. Jody however, was on the north end of the hill this morning when the train started to go by. We don’t always hear the horn blowing (because there aren’t any large train crossings near us) but you can sometimes hear a slight screech of the wheels against the tracks.

When Jody heard that this morning, she got a little spooked, and approached Jamie for some reassurance by reaching out and hugging her back. Jamie grunted (sorry, the photos don’t show that!) to sort of affirm, “yes, I heard that, too, and it’s okay.”




Still somewhat spooked, Jody retreated toward the safety of the greenhouse.


But before she could reach the building, she saw the train passing by, and I think she was comforted in seeing that the strange noise was really coming from something quite normal in their lives.





Let’s Get It Started

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Even though the chimpanzees enjoyed a fabulous day long celebration last Friday for Foxie’s birthday, they’re not done partying just yet. Life in the sanctuary today was sponsored in honor of supporter Erin Yuhas’ birthday. Erin also donated some fun enrichment items and decorations for today’s affair. Thank you, again, Erin for your generous gift! The chimpanzees seemed to thoroughly enjoy their breakfast forage in the greenhouse this morning.

Jamie was quite content to forage her breakfast:


And to relax in the cool playroom after a successful party:

Annie and Foxie took particular advantage of the chow forage included in breakfast. Here is Annie:



And Foxie:


Foxie also continues to enjoy the new troll dolls she has recently received:

Burrito tried to carry as much food as he could all at once:


Missy found one good spot and stuck pretty close to it:



While Jody was a woman about town this morning. She enjoyed the forage from the top of the greenhouse to platforms below and afterwards relaxed with a good book.



Negra, who has just recently started showing an interest in enrichment items, took a definite shine to the donated stuffed monkey in these pictures. She carried it around with her for most of the day, bringing it to meals and napping with it in between.