Today is the fifth anniversary of Negra and the Cle Elum Seven’s new lives in sanctuary. It’s amazing what sunshine and good food and comfort can do for these inspiring and resilient chimps. Today is the day to Give Five for our Queen on her birthday! Stay tuned for a video that we will be posting in just a little bit in celebration of five years of sanctuary.
Negra was captured from the wild, presumably in 1973, however she could be even older. Buckshire leased her to White Sands Research Center in March 1982 where she got the tattoo “#CA0041.”
WSRC started breeding Negra with Mack right away in April 1982, just one month after her arrival. Mack was a popular breeder – he was also paired at WSRC with Annie, Foxie, Jody, and is Burrito’s father. Tarzan, Rufus, and Spock are just a few other male breeder names we see in many of the chimps’ records. In between transfers to breeding pairs the females were sometimes housed alone, and sometimes with another female. At different points Annie was with Foxie and with Jody, Foxie was with Jody, Jody was with Negra, and Negra was with Karen, who was Burrito’s mother. The cross-over that we read about in these records is interesting, but also very sad. It only emphasizes how much these chimpanzees were used over and over to create more generations of lab chimps.
On November 29, 1983, technicians discovered Negra was pregnant. She gave birth to Heidi in January 1984.
1/8/84 – Delivered healthy female infant #91 Heidi. Removed & taken to nursery.
Heidi was taken immediately away, but Negra was able to stay with Angel (see below) for five whole days.
9/4/85 – Healthy infant born this date.
9/9/85 – Healthy infant removed and taken to nursery – female #126 Angel.
In early 1986 the scribbled notes indicate the lab techs believed Negra has some kind of infectious disease due to loose stool and negative parasite tests, and she was moved to isolation on March 31, 1986.
3/31/86 – Dr. ordered animal removed from main colony and placed in isolation for further testing.
The lab technicians took blood from Negra regularly, knocking her down each time. They took liver biopsies, which meant surgery. They tested her for hepatitis C on June 2, 1987, and for some reason the results did not return until over six months later on January 12, 1988. The entry for that date concluded that there was no evidence for the suspicion that Negra had hepatitis C. Negra had been housed in isolation for over a year and a half due to incorrect blood work. At this point, they transferred her back to the main chimp colony.
1/14/88 – Transferred from Quarantine to Bldg. 300 (Main colony) this date.
1/14/88 – Enter cage #28 by herself. Home again.
Negra was transferred away from quarantine but was put back into the cage she had been in during that year and half, by herself. At this point it was considered her home to be alone in cage #28. Being alone didn’t last long, though. The next week, she was thrown back into breeding pairs.
10/17/89 – Infant born approximately 10:00am, taken from mother and removed to nursery. Infant boy. #205 Noah.
Even after living in isolation, undergoing tests, and having babies taken from her, WSRC still took more from her. In early January 1992, they used her in a study that involved injecting a serum near her lymph nodes in her left leg. By March they had done this five times, and prepped Negra for surgery to remove the nodes. As if that weren’t enough, just a couple months later, Negra was transferred again to another breeding pair. She did not have any more babies however, and left WSRC/Coulston with Annie, Foxie, and Jody to return to Buckshire on August 12, 1996.
Before coming to Cle Elum, Keith, J.B., Diana, and Sarah all met the chimps while they were still at Buckshire. Read this post to see what Diana said about Negra back then.
Negra, arriving at CSNW exactly five years ago today:
Jamie and Negra at the barn doors:
Cage #28 is no longer Negra’s home. Now her home is Young’s Hill, where she’s really finding her place under the sun. It has taken her a little while to be fully comfortable on the hill, but this summer, she’s exploring and spending more and more time outside. Some days she’s hard to find! Seeing Negra, the honorary Queen of CSNW, able to relax and enjoy her home fills everyone around her with joy. She is the epitome of CSNW’s philosophy: Hope. Love. Home… Sanctuary.
Negra getting some reassurance from Jamie: