For years, Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest has relied on student volunteers from Central Washington University to help us care for the chimps. Last year, we formalized our relationship with the university to allow primate behavior students to gain experience at the sanctuary and learn from our staff as a direct part of their academic training. Students in the undergraduate Primate Behavior & Ecology program and graduate students in the Primate Behavior Master of Science program prepare for their internship at the sanctuary through a course called Procedures in Captive Primate Care, which is taught by CSNW staff. Then, they earn course credits by coming out each week to chop veggies, prepare enrichment, clean enclosures, and in some cases, provide direct care to the chimps. They get a chance to learn about chimpanzee behavior and husbandry while giving back to the chimps they are learning so much from.
All of our staff were trained in one way or another – either through an internship, undergraduate degree, or graduate degree – at Central Washington University, and we are happy to be able to help train another generation of primate caregivers, field researchers, conservationists.
Recently, our local NBC affiliate came out to the sanctuary to do a segment on the internship program:
In other news, everything is green here at the sanctuary and the chimps are slowly eating their way through all two acres of grass and weeds on Young’s Hill.