Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Happy chickens, food, and thanks!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

We have been very fortunate lately to receive some awesome food donations—Darwin pet food company has donated cases and cases of fresh produce the last few months which has certainly reduced our food bill every month! We are so appreciative, and so are the chimpanzees. Just check out one of the hauls:


And here’s some of the celery they donated being enjoyed by Annie and Negra:


And Missy snacking on a beet:

Part of our food philosophy is that the chimps have a primarily plant-based diet, which is why we’re so thankful for the Darwin’s donations! Recently we thought about seeing if the chimps like eggs, which would be a great source of protein for them in addition to the nuts they already eat and protein powder in their morning smoothie. It just so happens that I’m the proud caretaker of a few happy chickens who roam around my house (which is seated on a large family farm just outside Ellensburg).



I’ve always been thrilled to share the ladies’ eggs with friends and family, giving them the opportunity to have eggs from free-roaming chickens. So I decided to bring in some hard-boiled eggs for the chimps to see if they would like them! It turns out that they were no stranger to having eggs before. Though we expected that they would be weary of eating such a strange item, and it might take a few tastes to decide if they liked them or not, we were surprised to see their reaction—they definitely know what eggs are and they definitely like them. Negra was absolutely beside herself when she saw me walking out with the eggs, food squeaking with delight. The other chimpanzees quickly came over to get the exciting snack.


Foxie, however, is not so sure about eggs. She’s always been more hesitant to try new things (even if she ends up loving those things eventually). The first time we served the eggs, Foxie sniffed it and tossed it to the ground. She then went around and watched everyone eating their egg to see what was so exciting about it. The second time we served them, I peeled one for Foxie (while everyone else was happy to receive their with the shell and peel them on their own) and she took a quick bite before dropping the other half on the ground. Annie was very pleased to pick up Foxie’s leftovers, and Foxie very intensely food peered while Annie ate her eggs. This very uncomfortable looking behavior is a common act in chimpanzee culture, and Foxie especially likes to food-peer. Perhaps after watching the other chimps happily eat their eggs twice now, the third time will be the charm for Foxie!



Knowledge and Responsibility

Monday, October 27th, 2014

I’m often told how great it must be to have a job caring for chimpanzees and I have to agree. There are so many highlights of working at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. Of course, there are the chimpanzees, each with their own unique and inspiring qualities. And there are the incredibly compassionate and dedicated staff members, volunteers and donors that work on behalf of the Cle Elum Seven. Add in a beautiful setting and its the perfect job.

The truth is, I love my job, but I really wish it didn’t exist. The reality is there has to be chimpanzees in captivity for me to be a chimpanzee caretaker. But, chimpanzees do not belong in captivity. Period.

A past teacher of mine used to say “With knowledge comes responsibility”. I didn’t realize just how much those four words would mean until I started learning more about the fate of chimpanzees in the entertainment and biomedical industries and those kept as pets. Once I learned the fates of those chimpanzees, I stopped buying cards with pictures of chimpanzees “smiling” and I stopped watching movies with chimpanzees in them. But, I wanted to do more; I felt I had a responsibility to do more.

So, I am trying to do that, by helping to make captivity the best that it can possibly be for the chimpanzees of CSNW. This means respecting them as individuals, giving them choices, providing daily enrichment, sharing their stories and advocating for them and all apes.

These are the seven chimpanzees that I work for.








Enjoying the Sunshine and the Tea Party

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The chimpanzees were excited to make the most of the sunshine this morning by spending time on Young’s Hill. Jody was the first to venture outside, followed by Burrito, Jamie, Foxie, Missy and then Annie. Negra was close; she made it to the raceway that leads out to the hill, then sat down and looked outside.

Missy and Annie shared a few quiet minutes sitting together on top of the shaky bridge.


As soon as Missy spotted Jamie, she jumped down from the bridge and ran after her. And then Jamie took turns running after Missy.




And then Foxie joined Annie on the shaky bridge. (Annie is facing away from the camera)


In the mean time, Negra sat quietly in the Greenhouse, near the raceway, alternating between looking outside and inspecting her hand.



Jody gathered some bamboo before heading back to the greenhouse to relax and groom herself.




Meanwhile, volunteers Erin and Jake set up a tea party for the chimpanzees in the Playroom for today’s “Tea Party” theme. Jamie was all about it. After drinking the tea, she inspected the inside of each cup; turning it upside down, sticking her fingers in the cup and then licking them. She gives meaning to the saying “Good to the last drop”






And Burrito spent the better part of the rainy afternoon grooming his good friend Foxie.



Greenhouse Napping

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

It’s hard to remember, but the space that we now call the greenhouse used to be the chimpanzees’ only outdoor area.

building without Young's Hill

Karen and Don Young visited in 2009, and we conceived the idea of encasing the caging in removable polycarbonate panels so that the chimpanzees could enjoy this space year round! The Youngs kicked off donations for this project and we raised the rest of the greenhouse funds at our 2009 auction.

Construction began in late 2009 and early 2010 (because what better time to embark on a construction project than winter?!). Those were some cold construction days, as Jim Spencer I’m sure still remembers.

greenhouse construction in snow

The result for the chimpanzees was so worth it! The greenhouse is their favorite area year round.

greenhouse in snow

When the weather starts to warm up in the spring, J.B. removes some of the panels, leaving the roof, so the chimpanzees enjoy their summer lounging in an indoor-outdoor space.

web jb removing greenhouse panels view youngs hill

Then, around this time of year (today, for example), J.B. buttons up the greenhouse for the winter, so the chimpanzees can enjoy the cooler months in the protected area that heats up with the rays of the sun, or, in the case of today, keeps out the rain.

Today, Jamie enjoyed nesting and napping up high on the platform today, where it’s warmest, as it poured and blew outside:

Jamie sleeping on platform

Jamie at rest

Jamie close up under blanket

Jamie with eyes closed

And, of course, she also ventured onto Young’s Hill during breaks in the rain.

Jamie standing on Young's Hill

Safety in numbers

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Hank the hawk continues to use the sanctuary as his hunting grounds. But while the chimps were once scared of him, some of them are starting to enjoy having him around, if only for the excitement that he provides.

This morning, Missy was sitting quietly on a climbing structure on Young’s Hill.


Foxie was nearby, with troll in hand.


Missy approached Foxie and reached out her hand, holding it under Foxie’s chin.


Then suddenly, she stood up, climbed down the ladder, and swung on the fire hose.


She leaped off the fire hose and into a full sprint toward the top corner of Young’s Hill, where the hawk had been perched just days before.


As soon as she reached the top, she turned and ran back to the climbing structure.


And swung on the fire hose again.


The other chimps took notice of Missy’s antics and started to move towards the top of the hill. Missy continued jumping, leaping, and tight rope walking while they gathered.


They began to congregate on the platform closest to the top of the hill.


They all looked around for any sign of the hawk.


Finally, Jody walked toward the corner to get a better look.


But Jody, it seems, does not share Missy’s sense of adventure. Not yet, at least.


For now, she’d rather play it safe.


The relentless hawk

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The hawk saga has continued this week and the chimps are still on high alert. Last week, J.B. posted about a hawk that caused the chimps to be somewhat apprehensive.

Here’s a couple shots of the hawk (we’re calling him Hank).



Since Hank has been hanging out this whole week, the chimps are more used to his presence, but they are still very territorial. Today, Missy was still a little apprehensive and took cover inside the tunnel, and then ran back toward the safety of the chimp house. But Foxie, Jody, and Jamie were on patrol letting Hank know who’s in charge.

Missy emerging from the tunnel:


Foxie, Jody, and Jamie on alert:

And then on patrol to secure the rest of the territory:


Jamie took one last look back to make sure Hank learned his lesson:

It’s really great getting to see the chimps exhibit such a naturalistic behavior—patrolling the fence line and defending their home.


More ways to help the chimps!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

One of my favorite things about our gala auction (and online auction, too!) is that people who bid on items not only give generously to support the chimps, but they get a nice tangible item too. Win-win! There are many different ways to help support the chimps, from sponsoring a day of sanctuary to becoming a pal to one of the Cle Elum Seven, to participating in our fundraising events, and even just in your everyday shopping!

Awhile back we posted about how Amazon’s program AmazonSmile will donate a portion of sales from everyday things you shop for on Amazon to the sanctuary (read more on how to set that up here). We also have a program set up through Fred Meyer, a northwest one-stop-shop store, and a way to help the sanctuary when buying or selling on eBay through eBay Giving Works. You also can apply for a credit card that helps out the chimps! All win-win deals. Check all those options out on this page.

One new thing we added to that page was our connection with Cars 4 Causes, an organization which takes vehicles, gets them prepped for sale, auctions them off and then gives a chunk of the proceeds to the sanctuary! My family actually recently took advantage of this opportunity and donated our boat that I remember taking camping trips in as a child. It went up for auction and did really well—but unfortunately, the high bidder backed out last minute for financial reasons and so the boat is back up for auction. Seattle-area friends, please spread the word about this auction! And if you or anyone you know is thinking about getting rid of a vehicle, consider donating it to Cars 4 Causes to support CSNW.

Here’s some pictures of the chimps, as a reminder of who you are supporting with all these fun and unique ways to donate:





Rainy day

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Sometimes on a rainy day, all I want to do is cuddle up with a blanket or two and read a good book or even take a nap. That has not been the case for Jamie today. She has kept herself quite active with the help of volunteer caregiver Becca, despite the rain. She has already walked around Young’s Hill four times in between heavy rain periods. And when it did start raining harder, she took action right away and ran the rest of the way around the hill.


When she was not walking around Young’s Hill, she was flipping through magazines and inspecting some of her boots. And she even allowed herself some down time to sit quietly.



Waiting for the boss

Friday, October 17th, 2014

The chimps spent most of the morning inside due to the rain. When it finally let up, Missy ran straight for the far corner of the hill. Something was up.


Jody followed after her but seemed nervous about getting too close.


They both looked around for reassurance.


Annie was perched safely on the bridge, and showed no interest in putting herself in danger.


And Neither Foxie nor Burrito showed any willingness to come down from their platform to join the patrol.


Finally, Missy spotted Jamie at the bottom of the hill and asked for her help with an outstretched arm.


Jody’s hair was standing on end (also called “pilo erection”), showing her nervousness. She approached Missy for reassurance.


Neither seemed to have the courage to get any closer.


At one point, Missy got spooked and decided to bolt, leaving Jody all by herself.



Lucky for her, help was on the way.


With Jamie on the case, Missy decided to rejoin the group.


They headed toward the top corner of Young’s Hill.


As it turns out, the subject of their apprehension was a hawk that had been roosting on one of the fence posts. The chimps promptly scared it away.



Jamie is so cool in moments like these. While Missy ran around frantically and Jody looked on helplessly, Jamie calmly strutted her way up the hill, totally confident in her ability to protect her home from invaders. I guess there’s a reason why she’s the boss.


Droopy lip vs heavy lip

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

My all time favorite chimpanzee facial expression is the “relaxed face with drooped lip.”

Jody is famous for her drooped lip face. In fact, I discovered today that if you do a google image search for “drooped lip chimpanzee,” the first three images that come up are of Jody!

But there’s another set of perhaps not as famous lips among the Cle Elum Seven – those of Negra. Rather than classic drooped lip, we like to describe Negra’s lips as “heavy.”

Below are some examples of each. What do you think is more charming – Jody’s drooped lip or Negra’s heavy lip?



Jody drooped lip face profile

web Jody in grass drooped lip face YH IMG_2441

web Jody sit on structure YH drooped lip IMG_3467

web jody relaxed face drooped lip GH (dm) IMG_8183

web Jody close up drooped lip Young's Hill YH IMG_5486


Jody drooped lip while walking





web Negra room four close up arms crossed lip out looking toward window

web Negra funny lip close up outdoor area IMG_0112

Negra heavy lip with eyes closed