Annie’s birthday is Saturday, so I thought I’d share a picture taken from when the raceway to Young’s Hill was built:
When I first met the Cle Elum Seven in 2008, I was working at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) in Ellensburg, just 20 miles away from CSNW. I was going to grad school studying the chimps’ use of sign language (which coincidentally, all of the CSNW staff members did before me as well).
I remember when I first saw Annie, I immediately thought she looked like Washoe.
Washoe and Annie were both captured from Africa. Washoe originally was captured for NASA to be a space chimp, but she was too big and so she ended up in Reno, NV where she learned sign language. Washoe lived in a couple different places across two decades before she was given sanctuary at CHCI, but thankfully she was never used in invasive biomedical research. She was much luckier than Annie, who was taken from Africa and put straight into invasive research.
Regardless of their backgrounds, captivity is never ideal for a chimpanzee. We can’t ever make up for the amount of space they would normally have in the wild, but with the opening of Young’s Hill, Annie will have more space to roam than ever before since leaving Africa.