Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

Holiday gift suggestions

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Now that the holiday season is upon us, we are receiving numerous requests for chimpanzee gift ideas from supporters. There are a number of ways to support the Cle Elum Seven this holiday season from sending monetary donations to purchasing items directly from our Amazon Wish List.

Our wish list allows folks to purchase enrichment items that we have already approved for the chimpanzees here at CSNW. We try to give them a little bit of everything to enrich their senses and keep them occupied, but for their safety, we follow strict guidelines. These guidelines have been modified throughout the years as we have observed the chimps interacting with the various types of enrichment.

web Christmas Foxie's favorite new troll IMG_1542

Some examples of already approved enrichment items that may be on the wish list at any given time (which are geared directly for these chimps) include combs, brushes, hard plastic tools, wooden toys, Dora the Explorer and troll dolls, toothbrushes, slinkies, and buckets. You can also earmark a monetary gift towards enrichment so that the staff can purchase acceptable items.

Burrito with a toothbrush.

Jody inspects tool bench enrichment.

Foxie eating snow from enrichment container this morning.


We also add food items to the wish list, because as many blog readers already know, food can be quite enriching! These food items are very specific items that we have approved for the chimps to consume and include multi-vitamins, probiotics, gum, organic raisins, unsalted peanut butter, and almond milk.

Here is Foxie eating the peanut butter that we put inside of the PVC enrichment tube.

Also on the wish list are items that we do not give to the chimps, but they still do benefit the chimps. While garbage bags or printer toner may not seem like exciting gifts, they are essential for day-to-day operations here at the sanctuary! These non-chimp items include cleaning products like laundry detergent (we wash 70 plus blankets per day), latex-free gloves (for humans to use to clean the enclosures), scrub brushes, dish soap (to wash the enrichment items we give the chimps each day) and garbage bags. Other items on the list include office supplies such as pens, sticky notes, printer toner, and packaging tape, as well as maintenance tools and supplies. By updating the wish list, we are able to reflect what is needed at the time, as items are ranked by priority from highest to lowest.


Other gift suggestions that will benefit the chimps include gift certificates from Amazon, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Home Depot and Lowes. These gift certificates enable staff to purchase materials for building chimp-approved enrichment that cannot be bought in stores, such as hanging puzzles and raisin boards.

Jamie with raisin board that J.B. made.

Example of a PVC hanging puzzle used at the sanctuary and made by J.B.
web PVC pipe puzzle feeders enrichment IMG_1827

Supporters around the world ensure these chimpanzees’ lives are enriched and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Thank you for all your donations and for keeping the Cle Elum Seven in your thoughts this holiday season!

Pick your favorite November unseen photo

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Going through the photos from this month, I found some gems that hadn’t been posted of each of the chimpanzees. There seems to be a yellow theme going on. Do you have a favorite?



Annie on yellow blanket



Burrito pilo



Burrito sitting on post



Foxie in the rain



Jamie sitting on chair



Jody nesting



Missy in profile



Negra side glance


BONUS – ANNIE & MISSY running together:

Missy Annie running behind

The Thanksgiving Celebration

Friday, November 27th, 2015

As promised, here is the video of yesterday’s party.

The anticipation of the feast is always the best part. When chimpanzees are happy, they share their happiness with everyone around them. They hug and kiss each other and join together in choruses of pant-hoots. And they share pants and grunts of excitement with their caregivers.

It’s a celebration not just of food, but of the family they have become. And we are grateful to be considered part of their family in moments like these.

Today is in memory of Robert Morrow

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Peter Morrow in memory of Robert Morrow. There are so many moments and loved ones in life we all hold in our hearts and minds. And here at the sanctuary we are continually amazed and humbled by all the heartfelt memories and celebrations honored through such generosity and compassion for the chimpanzees.

Peter, thank you so much for choosing to make a difference in the chimpanzees’ lives in honoring Robert. We are happy to celebrate him here today and hope your day is filled with comfort and peace.


Annie putting her feet up

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The chimpanzees spent some time outside collecting their own snow today. But for the most part, everyone has been baking themselves in the sunny windows that look out over the valley below the sanctuary.

After lunch, Annie was quick to settle down in one of her favorite hot spots. When Annie is resting, and is content and relaxed, she loves to throw her legs in the air and kick them about or put them up against the window, intermittently clasping her feet together. Occasionally she throws in some feet clapping and Annie-bird noises (she whistles through her hands for this) for good measure.

Dear, sweet Annie…







First snow day

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

We all woke up to a couple inches of snow this morning and while the chimpanzees were not interested in going outside today, they were interested in eating the snow! Missy, Burrito and Annie were ready and waiting when I opened the door to Young’s Hill and immediately started food grunting when they saw the snow. They each took turns stretching out of the doorway to grab handfuls of the fluffy stuff. After breakfast was served, Jamie came in to nest bringing along of cup of snow to go that she had gathered:


Some of the chimps don’t mind collecting their own snow, but others are quick to figure out it’s much easier to just ask their caregivers to fetch it for them. Foxie sat at the window blowing raspberries with gusto until I brought a bucket in for them to snack on. After cleaning, we filled buckets with snow and sunflower and pumpkin seeds and you should have heard the excitement!




Jody inspected her options before relaxing with a big mouthful on the stairwell:




Burrito’s plan was to just grab a bucket and shovel in as much as possible:


And Foxie made the rounds and spent time at several buckets:


If you look closely, you can see Foxie rubbing her happy toes together.


And of course eating all that snow can make a person cold! So after the snow fest (which included snow in cowgirl boots!), Jamie bundled up to get warm:


I couldn’t get any photos of Negra as she is now frequenting her “winter” nesting area which is, of course, in a cozy corner out of sight. But rest assured the Queen had grabbed herself her very own bucket of snow snacks to enjoy from the comfort of her nest.

Take Action: Trunk Monkey Ads

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Take Action Tuesday banner


Today, we’re asking for your help. We’ve reached out to the Suburban Auto Group multiple times over the years about their “Trunk Monkey” ads using chimpanzees who were abused during their years in entertainment.


web_chimp-driving-car-trunk-monkey-no-sign copy     No Trunk Monkey


Instead of listening to our concerns, retiring the old and tired campaign, and coming up with more creative advertising, the car dealership outside of Portland, Oregon keeps bringing the Trunk Monkey ads back.

Please help us in continuing to reach out to them today by learning more and sending a polite email to Erinn Sowle, Suburban Auto Group’s general manager, via this page.

Thank you for speaking out and sharing the action alert with your contacts. Your voice makes a difference!


Burrito’s Tug-of-War Massage

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Today before lunch Burrito and staff caregiver J.B. played a nice long game of tug-of-war with a scarf. Burrito will often wrap the scarf around various parts of his body during this game so the caregiver can give him a little massage. Today he wanted to focus on his upper back and arms.

Why are the Chimps in Cages?

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

You may have heard that Foxie has become a bit of a celebrity due to this The Dodo article and a follow up story and video on the Huffington Post.

Publicity for the sanctuary is so wonderful! New amazing people with gigantic hearts find out about the work we do and all of the chimpanzees in our care, and the world overall becomes a better place with more like-minded people connecting with causes that speak to them.

And then there are the comments on the internet…

As a general rule, it’s a bit disheartening to read internet comments, no matter the subject, but when people are commenting on something so close to your heart and making assumptions that are wildly inaccurate, it can sting.

However, it can also be somewhat enlightening.

One theme to the comments of late has been questioning why Foxie is “still in a cage.”

Here’s the truth about keeping chimpanzees in captivity – you have to put measures in place to contain them in order to keep them and the humans safe. And captive facilities, whether labs or zoos or sanctuaries, utilize concrete and steel to some extent.

Below is a photo of the type of cage that most of the chimpanzees living at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest spent years and years living in while in laboratories:

cage outside

Jody in buckshire cage


This is their sanctuary home now (the building and the hill inside the electrical fence):

chimp house


I am here to tell you right now that some of the enclosures at the sanctuary are primarily caging.


The next few photos are of the greenhouse, which is the chimpanzees’ favorite area year round. It is basically a large cage.

The greenhouse was the chimpanzees’ original “outdoor” area, and was caging that was open to the elements. Greenhouse panels were added to make it a usable space year round. Here are the panels going up:

greenhouse construction

And here is what it looks like in the winter. It’s pretty toasty in there when there’s even a little bit of sun to heat things up.

greenhouse in snow


The greenhouse is an incredibly usable space – chimpanzees, being strong and dexterous and having opposable toes, can easily climb up the walls, and the ceiling is made up of bars where they can hang from and brachiate, whether just to get across the room, when absconding with a prize, during play, or just for fun. I wish all enclosures could be as usable.

jamie with pinata in legs

Jamie and Missy brachiate

Burrito brachiating

The caging also allows caregivers to directly interact with and serve the chimpanzees (unlike other methods of containment that we also use at the sanctuary such as electric fencing and bullet-proof / chimp-proof glass).

serve vitamin


Caging is also handy for hanging food puzzles, like this raisin board that Jamie enjoyed tonight:

Jamie with food puzzle


But take another look at that photo above of Jamie with her raisin board.

If you didn’t know that this:

Jamie and Missy on patrol

and this:

Jamie on shakey bridge

and this:

Jamie look into distance

was also a part of Jamie’s everyday existence, what would you think?


We considered this when we started the blog before the chimpanzees arrived. Would we avoid posting photos of the chimpanzees behind bars, or play sessions that were filmed in the smaller front room area? We decided we would share it all, with the idea that those who were truly concerned or curious would look into things further, find out more, and then, of course, fall in love with the chimpanzees.

And for those who simply made an assumption about the sanctuary and never delved further, well, maybe they weren’t our “target audience.”

So, for those who are reading this, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to learn and wonder and question and care.

Anyone who works at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest will tell you that our ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of business. We don’t like the fact that there is a need for sanctuaries for chimpanzees. We don’t like the fact that there are chimpanzees in captivity anywhere.

We don’t want our chimpanzee friends to be living behind bars – we want them to be wild and free in their native habitat. But that is not possible. As we explain on our FAQ page, there are many reasons why captive chimpanzees in North America cannot be released into the wild, but one of the most significant reasons is that chimpanzees rely heavily on cultural knowledge for survival in the wild. Having been raised in captivity, the chimpanzees at CSNW lack the most basic skills for survival such as finding and procuring food and protecting themselves from the dangers of their environment.

We wish that Foxie had been born in Africa into a huge and thriving population of chimpanzees. We wish that she had children and grandchildren that surrounded her and enriched her life. But she was born in a laboratory. And that is tragic.

What we get to do, though, is tell the other side of her story. The story about her falling in love with troll dolls, and being the 98-pound mediator within her group of chimpanzees, and playing wild games of wrestle and troll keep-away with Jamie.

Some of this is done on the other side of steel caging, and we will continue to show those moments.

Burrito and Foxie

Early morning treats

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Each year, when the first cold spell hits, the chimps remind us that there is, in fact, a small upside to winter. Early morning frost lingers in the shadows on Young’s Hill, which the chimps rush to lick from every surface before it vanishes.


Tire swings hide thin layers of ice on the inside.




The chimps gather all of the icy treats they can find and head off to their favorite spots to enjoy them. Some return to the greenhouse.


Others carry their spoils to the tops the climbing structures.


These late fall mornings might be cold, but at least they bring snacks.