We’ve written a lot about how one of the most important characteristics of a true sanctuary is giving chimpanzees the opportunity to make their own choices (You’ll find a search box on the right hand side of the blog – just scroll down a bit. Type in “choices” and several blog posts will appear).
J.B.’s post yesterday about all of the different things that the chimpanzees were doing in the morning is an illustration of how the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees have really embraced the freedom to make their own decisions about what to do.
Another hallmark of a true sanctuary is getting to know the chimpanzees as unique individuals and learning what they like, what they don’t like, and how to make their lives better on an individual basis. That’s really a lot of what our blog is all about, now that I think about it – we’re just inviting you to see this process.
Recently, I took a cue from Jackie and presented Foxie with the opportunity to choose among a bunch of her favorite things by bringing out the bin of trolls and other dolls and letting her indicate which ones she wanted. She seemed to really enjoy watching me pick the dolls out of the bin and set them up in front of her:
We did this together for quite a while and she ended up choosing about 11 of the dolls (at one point attempting, unsuccessfully, to carry all of them at once).
Here’s the first doll she decided she needed to have:
She started to nest with a few of her dolls and put her back up against the fencing to be groomed. One of the Dora dolls obliged, which made Foxie quite happy:
Another very important mission of our sanctuary is to allow the seven chimpanzees in our care to serve as examples of the hundreds of chimpanzees who are still languishing in laboratories or in other terrible conditions. We want you to fall in love with Foxie, as we caregivers have, and to use that love to advocate for other chimpanzees in need.
Speaking of advocacy, please continue to share the petition to the NIH insisting on the release 110 chimpanzees to a true sanctuary. As I write this, we have 1,750 signatures to go before we reach our goal of 5,000.
You may have heard that an NIH spokesperson told NBC that the NIH had changed their tune and were now saying that all 110 chimpanzees would be going to Chimp Haven. This, however, was news to Chimp Haven, as you can read in their statement released yesterday. It’s now more important than ever that we keep the pressure on the NIH to permanently retire these chimpanzees from biomedical research and send them to Chimp Haven or another true sanctuary.