Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee’

What’s in a Nest?

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

An intriguing article is making the rounds about a primatologist named Koichiro Zamma who has developed a bed, called the humankind evolution bed, that is based on how chimpanzees construct their own beds in the forests. Apparently he tried out a chimpanzee-constructed nest  while tracking chimpanzees in the wild and found it to be very comfortable, waking up quite refreshed after his night of nesting.

A prototype of his invention is currently on display at Kyoto University Museum in Japan. Articles say this about the bed: “The mattress features a depression in the centre to replicate the natural dip in a chimp’s treetop bed and has a raised periphery for the head, legs and arms. It is supported by a frame made from woven paper string for maximum breathability, and eight curved legs that are designed to allow the bed to rock almost imperceptibly.”

humankind evolution bed

Megumi Kaji of the Research Association of Sleep and Society takes a nap on the humankind evolution bed. Photograph: Koichiro Zamma


As we’ve written in the past, chimpanzees in captivity make similar constructions for their nests as their free-living counterparts, building up walls of material (blankets, straw, paper, etc), and laying in the middle.

Jody is a master nest-maker:


Missy makes a pretty mean nest too. This was one of my favorite photos from the early days of the sanctuary:

Missy in tire nest

In fact, these two were featured in this tutorial-style blog post about how to nest.

Here are some more photos of nesting from the Cle Elum Seven:

Jamie's paper nest

Missy constructed nest

Missy sleeping in a big nest

Negra nesting


I have to admit that I wonder if perhaps Zamma’s restful night of sleep was due to being particularly exhausted after a day of following chimpanzees around the forest, but I remain intrigued.

What do you think – are chimpanzees on to something that we should be paying attention to? Should we ditch our flat mattresses? Would you want a humankind evolution bed?


Playful mornings

Friday, June 24th, 2016

The staff have a lot do to each morning before they are ready to serve the chimps their breakfast. What’s a chimp to do in the meantime?

Taking it all in

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Jamie has been taking in the views of her kingdom for the last hour. Caregiver in tow wearing Jamie’s chosen cowgirl boots du jour, of course.






A Strawberry Solstice

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

One of the chimpanzees’ favorite summertime happenings is their garden. Volunteer caregiver, Denice, and staff caregiver, Keri, are the driving forces behind this beautiful project each year. It not only helps us supplement the chimpanzees’ food supply, but it provides them with enrichment while adding beauty to their home.

As soon as the weather turned warmer this year the chimpanzees immediately started looking out the windows of the playroom to see if the garden had magically appeared overnight. Once things start growing we get to harvest fresh fruit and vegetables for them almost daily and they LOVE getting to choose what they would like and have their caregivers hand it to them straight from the garden!


With our first full day of summer arriving yesterday in conjunction with the stunning full Strawberry Moon last night, I thought it only appropriate to have a small strawberry feast this afternoon to celebrate. Volunteer caregiver, Ally, picked through the chimps’ strawberry patch as they watched from the greenhouse and then served everyone the fresh berries, still warm from the (official!) summer sun.


Burrito and Jody watch Ally in the distance. The entire time, Annie was banging her feet on the caging and Foxie was blowing raspberries to hurry Ally along with the strawberry picking:












Missy decided to wait down by the onion patch, but she was happy for a handful of strawberries:

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And Queen Negra opted to avoid all the excitement in the greenhouse and wait it out in the comfort of her nest until I hand delivered some strawberries to her. She climbed down from her nest at Negra-style warp speed and though she was not interested in having her photo taken, she enjoyed her strawberries in peace with a view of the flower garden.


Year Eight

Monday, June 20th, 2016

We hope that you have been enlightened, entertained, and inspired by the musings on years’ past this week. Today’s final post in the looking-back brings us from June 2015 to last week, the eighth anniversary of the arrival of the Cle Elum Seven to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

The chimps’ eighth year began with a true test of our medical clinic. Burrito spent some time in the clinic twice after breaking a canine tooth. The first was an exam to determine the extent of his previously-diagnosed congestive heart failure and to assess the broken tooth, and the second was the tooth (make that teeth) extraction procedure.

Burrito tooth extraction

The chimpanzees are so fortunate to have such good human friends in their corner, who always go out of their way to ensure that they have the best care possible, and Burrito was in the hands of a large huge team of veterinary professionals who donated their time and skills to see Burrito through his procedures without a hitch.

Dare I say he’s even cuter with his missing teeth?



Dora the Explorer and friends were making frequent appearances with Foxie last year, and she seemed to show a particular fondness for the jaunty and clearly extra-adventurous France Dora:



and Dora’s fiery-haired friend Kate:

a flair for the dramatic


Troll dolls have not been replaced, though! They continued to be a favorite enrichment item for Foxie, with some of the other chimps seeming to adopt the trend:


Negra with a troll doll


Jody with a troll doll


Last summer, J.B. put together another of my favorite videos of the last eight years – the epic Troll Scarf Tug O War:


While the chimpanzees continue to make the most out of the ever-expanding life in sanctuary…





Jamie at the top of Twister


…the humans have been working hard “behind the scenes” to secure their future and work towards giving more chimpanzees a sanctuary life. The community of donors and volunteers came together and made it possible to purchase the sanctuary property that we had been leasing, acquire new land that tripled the total sanctuary footprint, and enter into an agreement to provide a home for chimpanzees coming out of biomedical research.

And, on a national scale, there was huge news as invasive biomedical research on chimpanzees came to a halt.

Just think about what the next eight years will bring!

Year Six

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Continuing the trip down memory lane in celebration of the sanctuary’s 8th anniversary,  today is all about the Cle Elum Seven’s sixth year of sanctuary. 

After the harrowing experience of the Taylor Bridge Fire in the late summer of 2012, our thoughts continued to turn towards safety and security. We put the finishing touches on the mobile veterinary clinic to be used for emergencies and planned procedures and we installed a back-up generator that powers the chimp house as soon as the power goes off.

These important safety measures were possible because of generous contributions from friends of the Cle Elum Seven near and far. Everything that happens at the sanctuary is possible because of donations! That includes really important life-or-death measures as well as the addition of things that enrich the chimpanzees’ existence, and in turn all of our lives. For year six that, of course, included:

Foxie’s troll dolls:

Troll doll whispering to Foxie


Burrito’s wooden toys:

burrito with wooden car

Jody’s blankets:

Jody hold blanket in greenhouse through glass by JB's iphone


Negra’s peanuts:

Negra holding peanut


Jamie’s (many) boots:

jamie with boot


Annie’s natural lipstick:

Annie carrying beets

Annie with beet lips


And Missy’s access to as many adventures as she can manage in a day:

Missy leap


With the passing years, we have been faced with the loss of friends and fans of the chimpanzees. A particularly difficult loss in year six was that of Dr. Mel Richardson, who was the chimpanzees’ first veterinarian and an important voice for animals everywhere.

In Memory of Dr. Mel Richardson

We now have the Dr. Mel Memorial Walkway at the top of Young’s Hill where anyone can honor a loved on or create a stone for themselves to be placed in one of the most peaceful spots on the sanctuary grounds.


A Day of Sanctuary in Honor of Ben & Annie

Saturday, June 18th, 2016
Today’s day of sanctuary is sponsored by Elliott Sumers for Ben Sumers and Annie “who treat humans and animals with love and respect.”
Thank you Elliott, Ben and Annie!
It seems fitting to share some photos of beautiful Annie chimpanzees today. Happy Saturday, everyone!
Annie left
annie close-up b&w

Year Five

Friday, June 17th, 2016

In celebration of CSNW’s 8th Anniversary, we are taking a trip down memory lane. Today we look back on the chimpanzees’ fifth year at the sanctuary.

Year Five was exciting, to say the least.

burned troll doll

On August 13th, 2012, a wildfire erupted less than a mile from the sanctuary. It went on to destroy 60 homes and over 36 square miles of land. In the process, it nearly destroyed the sanctuary.

The story of the fire, part 4

Thanks to the incredible bravery and dedication of local volunteer firefighters, DNR helicopter pilots, and many other emergency personnel, the chimps were kept safe. The fire burned half of Young’s Hill and damaged the sanctuary residence, but we were able to bounce back quickly with the help of supporters from around the world.

helicopter dropping water near building


bedroom side of caregiver house burned by fire

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With the fire behind us, we built a new structure on the hill just for Negra – her very own “cabin” that would shelter her from the wind and rain and help her adjust to life in the great outdoors. Some chimps just need a little more help than others.

Negra in her cabin!

And the chimps never skipped a beat – they went right back to making art, fighting off enemy horses, and napping, as if nothing had ever happened.

Jamie’s artistic side

Chimps vs Horses

How sleepy is Negra?


Year Four

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

In celebration of CSNW’s 8th Anniversary, we are taking a trip down memory lane. Today we look back on the chimpanzees’ fourth year at the sanctuary.

By the beginning of Year Four, we had a long-standing dream of expanding the sanctuary and giving the chimpanzees a spacious, open-air outdoor habitat, unlike anything they had experienced in their lives.

Young's Hill – The Dream from Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest on Vimeo.

By the summer of 2011, thanks to help from supporters Karen and Don Young and so many others, Young’s Hill was nearing completion.

the hill

The chimpanzees were able to watch the construction from the greenhouse, but it’s hard to say what they thought of it. We hoped that they knew it was for them. They were certainly curious.

As the big day approached, we all tried to predict how the chimps would react to the door to Young’s Hill being opened for the first time.

log bridge

For most of them, this would be the first time in their long lives that they would feel grass under their feet and have an unimpeded view of the sky above. We guessed that they would probably be too apprehensive to stay outside for long on the first day, and that some of them would likely be too afraid to venture out at all.

We should have known not to underestimate them.

On the day that the door to Young’s Hill was opened for the first time, all of the chimpanzees showed astonishing courage by stepping eagerly into the great unknown. Watch video of their exhilarating first moments outside. It was an emotional day for the chimps and for all the humans who love them.

The opening of Young’s Hill set off a series of firsts for the chimpanzees that year. It was the first time they were sharing a habitat with other creatures, and they had to deal with a lot of strange noises.

Having lived in indoor or partially-indoor enclosures for their entire lives, they had never fully experienced weather or seasons. On Young’s Hill they encountered sun, wind, rain, and snow.

Despite their burst of courage and adventurousness on the first day, not everyone felt immediately at home outside. We saw the more confident chimps support and encourage the more hesitant individuals.

We all got chills seeing the chimps behave like a wild troop for the first time, now that they had a territory to patrol.

web four chimps on YH bamboo IMG_2193

And we continued to be amazed as they stretched their legs and their horizons.

Year Two

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

To celebrate the Eighth Anniversary of the chimps’ arrival to the sanctuary, we’re taking a quick trip down memory lane. Click here to read about Year One

As the chimps entered their second year in sanctuary, their physical and emotional transformations were becoming ever more apparent. When they first arrived, their hair was sparse, their skin was pale, and their muscles were atrophied. These early photos of Jamie speak volumes.

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Some bore not just the scars of experimentation, but also indelible, haunting reminders of their traumatic pasts in the form of prominent identification tattoos.  Jamie was CH-522.

web Jamie chest tattoo

To our great relief, the tattoos became harder and harder to see as their bodies recovered from years in that windowless basement. By Year Two, their hair had begun to grow in, their skin had darkened, and their faces – once frozen and nearly expressionless – were overflowing with personality.

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web_Jamie boot enrichment outside stand cowboy_MG_6299 copy

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As Diana mentioned in her Year One post, our resources were extremely limited in those early days. With our goal of freeing the chimps from that laboratory basement accomplished, we set our sights on improving their sanctuary home as best we could. Thanks to support from our amazing donors and volunteers, we were able to convert the chimps’ modest outdoor area into a four-season, convertible greenhouse so that they could bask in warm sunlight even on the coldest winter days:

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Greenhouse Fun!

With their bodies healed and their sanctuary home upgraded, the chimps did what happy chimps do best – play! It was amazing to watch them throw off the weight of all those decades in the lab.

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Foxie and Jamie’s epic play session

“Oh, Neggie…”

Missy and the Kong toy