Posts Tagged ‘primate rescue’

Jamie and the snowshoes

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Well folks, today has been one of those days where capturing photos of the chimps has just not been on their agenda. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t stories to tell.

The chimps have a bare path around snowy and slushy Young’s Hill, courtesy of J.B., and most everyone has been venturing out for walks in our “milder” weather (i.e., above freezing for the most part). But much to our surprise, it’s Jamie who hasn’t been interested in going all the way around the hill. (Missy on the other hand, has been ripping and running around and around!). The last couple of days Jamie seems to have incorporated the lower half of the hill into her games of chase with her caregivers, venturing half way up one side only to turn, run back down and then part way up the other side, back and forth like a pendulum.

Given how excited Jamie’s been over the winter footwear and seeing what the humans’ Yaktrax look like on her own boots, I decided to take it to the next level and see what she would think of seeing her boots in snowshoes, which we don’t think she’s seen before. Here is Jamie’s favorite new boot getting strapped in as she watches:

Suffice to say, Jamie was beside herself! Hair standing on end (polo-erect), eyes glued to her boots, hooting and low moaning and generally flailing about in excitement. Of course she immediately raced outside to play chase up and down the small slope seemingly mesmerized that HER boots were snowshoeing. Kelsi and I tried and tried to get photos of her, but I think she was so overwhelmed she didn’t have time to participate in a photo shoot. So outside of this photo of Jamie flailing (I recognize it’s hard to see, but she is waving her arms and hands about as she looks at her boot), you’ll have to take our word for it:

Jamie immediately ran outside making sure I was following and after about an hour of chase inside, outside, through the greenhouse, up the hill, down the hill (with frequent stops to check out her boot), she decided she was ready to have her snow covered boots (sans snowshoes, of course). As soon as she received them she hugged them to her for a moment, looked at them as if they (and perhaps by extension, she?) had just been on the most amazing adventure ever, and then hurried off to build a nest with them.

For years it was very uncommon to see Jamie actually sleep when she nested. Some part of her always remained on alert and if the rare occasion occurred where her eyes closed, it didn’t take much for them to spring back open. Only in the last year or two has she begun to fully relax enough to fall asleep. So to see her covered up with her blankets, surrounded by her beloved boots and favorite new boot book, sound asleep holds so much more meaning than just how cozy and adorable she looks like this. Even if brief (she’s a busy woman after all), she finally feels safe enough to fully let go and fall into a deep slumber. Perhaps dreaming of snowshoeing her way around Young’s Hill…

Busy work

Friday, October 20th, 2017

We had this giant box of shipping/moving paper saved up with a fun enrichment project in mind. After Jamie and Burrito dismantled the box, Missy was more than happy to recycle the paper as lining in her giant nest!

Happy Birthday, Burrito!!

Friday, January 6th, 2017

We’re celebrating our first chimpanzee birthday of the year with Burrito, who turns 34 today! This special day of sanctuary for our beloved Bubs was kindly sponsored by Trish Loesch (you may recall her husband, John, also sponsored a day earlier this week thanks to Trish’s love for the chimps!). Trish shares this message: “Happy Birthday Burrito!!!  I hope your special day will bring you lots of happiness, love and fun with your friends!!!”

If you’ve been following the blog for long, you may have gathered that we do a lot of partying around here. Parties are a wonderful source of enrichment, anticipation and excitement for the chimps. But they are also much more than that. These seven amazing chimpanzees, everything that makes them the unique individuals they are, and all the incredible humans – each of you – who make their lives in sanctuary possible, are to be celebrated. Each and every day. So really, we need to party even more!

And I’m sure as long as it involves food – lots, and lots of food – Burrito is on board. For every adorable and charming move he makes, every ruckus he raises, all the crazy food squeaks, the deadly accurate spitting upon humans, the brain-rattling cage rattling, and heart-melting play stomps, play bows, head-stands, kisses and smiles, we celebrate this amazing guy. Burrito is an important part of this family and we couldn’t love him more. We’re so happy to honor him today.

Thank you so much for your generous gift, Trish! The fridge is stocked and the celebration of Burrito (and food!) is getting underway. Be sure to tune in later today to see the festivities!

Happy Birthday, B!! We love you so much!!

Burrito lookout

In honor of the Cle Elum 7!

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

This Christmas Eve was sponsored for the Cle Elum 7 by friends and advocates of not only the chimps, but all our fellow animals, Kery Shaw and Terran Baylor! Kery and Terran give so much of their time and hearts to advocating for the well-being of animals and creating a compassionate world community. We are thrilled to start off almost a full week of sponsorships and celebration with their generous gift for the chimpanzees.

Kery and Terran, thank you so much for all you do to make the world a kinder, gentler, safer sanctuary for us all, especially for those who are most in need of it. Thank you for always holding the chimpanzees in your hearts:

Annie (bottom) and Missy (top):

Annie and Missy top of Twister


Burrito lookout

Foxie and Dora:

Master Forager, Jody:

Negra picking wild lettuce:

And Jamie, Queen of her world:

Staff and volunteers have been like elves in the chimps’ workshop these last weeks processing all the incredibly generous and compassionate gifts pouring in for the chimpanzees, not only for the holidays, but for an even brighter future. From our hearts, thank you. Thank you. You have all given the gift of sanctuary and we are profoundly grateful to you.

However, you choose or don’t choose to celebrate this time of year, all of us here at CSNW wish you holidays and a season full of joy, hope, comfort, kindness, beauty and gratitude. Be sure to check in for the chimpanzees’ Christmas extravaganza tomorrow and have a magical Christmas Eve!

Digging Out

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Our cold snap seems to be over for the time being. Today’s high of 30° is a marked improvement over the highs in the teens that we’ve been experiencing for the last several days. This combined with some welcome sunshine means that Jamie is very eager to get outside. Unfortunately, the chimps’ outdoor habitat is still covered with a thick blanket of snow (including several inches of fresh powder from last night). Jamie briefly considered shoveling herself a path out, but ultimately thought better of it.

A Little Joy for Your Day

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Some recent photos of Burrito, our resident male model:







Bouncing Back

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Burrito’s been through a lot lately. In early June, he fractured a canine. The injury itself didn’t seem to phase him, but in order to prevent future pain and infection, we needed to extract the tooth. In late June, we performed an exam to do some blood work, check on his heart condition, and assess how he would do under prolonged anesthesia. And in late July, we performed the extraction.


Before he came to the sanctuary from the research lab in 2008, Burrito was sedated for procedures pretty frequently. The routine nature of these “knockdowns” probably didn’t diminish the fear associated with them. Until Burrito’s tooth ordeal, we’ve been incredibly lucky that none of the chimps here have required medical intervention beyond a dose of antibiotics here or there.


When you care for former lab chimpanzees, you hope that they know they’re safe now, and that they trust the difference between their current home and their former ones. We’ve spent the last seven years working to gain these chimps’ trust, and one nagging fear is that something will happen to lose you the trust you’ve earned.


Regardless of the fact that Burrito was surrounded by friends who love him and who want the best for him, it’s likely that the two procedures he had to undergo recently brought back some scary memories from his past life. And regardless of the fact that we’ve seen firsthand how incredibly resilient and forgiving chimps can be, it’s still hard not to fear that you’re going to push things too far and damage the relationships you’ve built.


But we shouldn’t have worried. Burrito has bounced back to his sweet, goofy, mischievous, happy self. His love for the simple things in life – a ripe avocado, a good grooming session, a long and loud bout of chase with a human friend – is as strong as ever. May we all strive to be as irrepressible as this guy.


A New Friend for Burrito

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

This morning, new staff caregiver Anna showed up at the chimp house with a giant stuffed gorilla for the chimpanzees. Stuffed animals have a sad history at the sanctuary; the chimps tend to either ignore them or tear them limb from limb. Stuffed animals that resemble apes or monkeys, in particular, don’t often live long after the chimps get their hands on them.

So we were surprised and delighted by what transpired this morning…

Serious face

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Yesterday, Elizabeth posted this great blog about Jamie—if you missed it, definitely check it out.

Normally, I try not to post about the same chimpanzee two days in a row, just to keep things varied, but I took some photos of the Boss today and couldn’t resist putting them on the blog. Jamie was just chillin’ in the greenhouse this afternoon, demonstrating her serious face.

After I took these photos, she came down to take a look at them. She seemed to approve, so I figured they were good to go!







The favorite spot

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

As I was walking around Young’s Hill with Jamie the other day, I was thinking about how she’s created a trail for herself (JB does mow the grass down during the summer, but there’s still a beaten path where Jamie walks several times a day) and it reminded me of when I visited the Louvre in Paris many years ago. One of the stairwells had worn down on one spot on each step because so many people walked that path every day. The favorite spot. I’m not really sure why I was thinking about that, but maybe because it’s just another way chimpanzees and humans are alike—we find a path we like taking, and stick with it.

The favorite spot phenomenon doesn’t just apply to pathways, but also places to rest or eat. Jamie has a few favorite spots, depending on the activity at hand. For her morning snack in the front rooms she likes to sit on her barrel in room 2, and she almost never strays from that spot for that activity. Foxie and Burrito both like to sit up on the lazy susans, and Negra will sit on a blanket just below.

Missy, Jody, and Annie all sort of move around during meals, but they do have favorite spots for resting. Annie and Missy like the catwalk by the bridge—it’s a popular spot for grooming. Negra has two favorite spots—her summer spot in front of one of the catwalk windows, and her winter spot in the middle of the loft. Jamie likes to rest in the corner of room 3 against the fencing, or near the playroom door. And Jody likes the bench in room 4—as we’ve dubbed it, “the portrait studio” because it has really great lighting. We have lots of photos of Jody lying down in this spot, both snacking on browse like cattails or bamboo, and taking a quick nap in a blanket nest.

web Jody lay blankets nest bed front room IMG_3817

web Jody lie on bench troll in pelvic pocket look at camera front room 4 FR IMG_3058



web jody nest blankets sleep front rooms IMG_0216


Jody nesting


Whatever it is that motivates us to find our favorite spots—they represent comfort and safety, which is something that is so valuable for ex-biomedical chimpanzees. This is their second chance at life, and what better way to spend their day than in the comfort of their own home.

Watch the video below to see more ways the chimpanzees find comfort in their sanctuary home, and please Share the Chimp Love!