Lots of news to share today.
First, Diana and the chimps participated in a unique virtual event this morning hosted by Animal Protection of New Mexico and featuring Senator Tom Udall. The purpose of the event was to highlight the plight of the 39 chimpanzees forced to remain at a federal research facility in New Mexico instead of being retired to Chimp Haven, the federal chimpanzee sanctuary. While New Mexico may be a long way from Cle Elum, there are many threads connecting CSNW to this issue. You may recognize that the event’s host, Laura Bonar, was a guest speaker at a past Hoot! gala. Or you may know that Diana hails from the great state of New Mexico. You may even know that several of the Cle Elum Seven’s kids, including Negra’s daughter Heidi, Foxie’s daughter Kelsey, and Jody’s son Levi, all lived at that very research facility. They were lucky to be retired to Chimp Haven in recent years but 39 others have not been as fortunate.
Connections aside, what is most important is that they are all chimpanzees deserving a better life. Urge the NIH to fulfill the CHIMP Act and transfer them to Chimp Haven, where they belong: https://chimpstosanctuary.org
While the event took place live on Facebook and Zoom, you can watch a rebroadcast here.
Next I want to congratulate former intern Jake Funkhouser for publishing yet another paper from the observational research he conducted during his time at CSNW and Central Washington University. His latest analysis demonstrates the extent to which human caregivers are part of the chimps’ social structure – something obvious to anyone working with chimps and yet somehow missing from most discussions of captive primate sociality. Expanding our view of chimpanzee social networks will not only have profound effects on how we understand captive chimpanzee social systems from a scientific perspective but also the way in which we care for chimpanzees in zoos and sanctuaries.
And finally, let’s celebrate what looks to be a bit of justice in the fight to protect the few remaining chimpanzees in the American entertainment industry. “Doc” Antle, who you may know from this blog – or more likely Netflix’s recent Tiger King series – was indicted on several felony and misdemeanor charges related to wildlife trafficking. We and our colleagues in the sanctuary and animal protection community have been opposed to and fighting against his exploitation of young chimpanzees and other animals for a long time. Cheers to the Virginia Attorney General’s office and all those working behind the scenes for this victory in the fight against cruelty.
Here in Cle Elum, it was another beautiful day in sanctuary. Jody wadged some cattails while lounging on the greenhouse deck.
Annie laid beside her in a very Annie-esque pose.
Missy kept an eye on Young’s Hill from a perch atop the greenhouse platform.
Later she and her pals Foxie and Annie spent some time climbing and swinging.
Jamie and Burrito waited for Anna to catch up in the gator for a walk/drive around the hill. Apologies to Burrito for shaving far more of his chest than I needed to for an EKG lead during his recent procedure. May it grow back quickly.
Both Missy and Foxie kept a watchful eye on the blockmasons that showed up to protect their equipment from an impending rain storm.
Speaking of the blockmasons, the walls of the new playrooms and greenhouses continue to rise ever higher beneath an elaborate maze of scaffolding. We can’t wait to see Mave, Honey B, and Willy B in their new digs – hopefully just a few short months.
Wow! Today is a big news day. I will try to give the NIH (and my two U.S. Senators) a call regarding the need to transfer these remaining 39 chimpanzees to Chimp Haven. Is there any chance that Heidi, Levi and Kelsey might be able to live at CSNW (or are they already at Chimp Haven? I ask my question with wishful thinking: how I wish that all three could be reunited with their mothers. Why are humans so cruel to other primates, destroying their families?)
Hi Tobin – They are all integrated into families at Chimp Haven already. And while we love the idea of reuniting families, we haven’t seen much evidence that mothers and children separated at such a young age (as the labs did) are able to establish any kind of connection in that short time that could be rekindled decades later. So the most important thing from our perspective is that they are retired to any sanctuary that can provide the kind of stimulating life they deserve.
Linda C says
JB’s phrasing makes it seem like they’re no longer alive. But if they are, I imagine they’re integrated into families already. I love the idea, but after Honey B, I won’t romanticize it any longer
So much happening at the sanctuary. Your event today was very interesting plus I had such fun seeing the chimps live. Right On to Senator Tom Udall for fighting for the NM chimpanzees over the years. I will share the links. And Yippee on the news about “Doc” Antle being indicted on several felony and misdemeanor charges related to wildlife trafficking. About time. I didn’t see this news so thank you for mentioning it. Feels great to finally hear some good news.
Enjoyed todays photos — especially Burrito top, but everyone looks as if they are enjoying these last warmer days of fall. I see some “devilish horns” (as discussed in yesterdays blog) in the first photo of Missy and sort of on the last photo of Foxie. : )
Can’t get over the progress being made on the new wing. WOWIE! And to think I used to describe you as a small sanctuary — not any more. This is so exciting. And I know the key reason this is moving along so quickly is all due to the superb supervision of the chimps.
Nancy D says
The event today was so interesting and I know that everyone watching (myself included) will contact those with influence who will work for the release of the remaining 37 Chimps so they are able to live their remaining years in sanctuary at Chimp Haven.
Barbara H. says
Wow!!! It looks like your connections run much farther than CSNW. Kudos to you all
for helping get the chimps into sanctuaries instead of being in cages and treat unkind.
I will pray that you can get them out of labs and away from cruel people and into safe
and friendly homes. Thank you for all of the information and working so hard for
Just wanted to say, as someone who has been a long time advocate and activist for the chimpanzees and animal welfare, it makes a big difference if you add a personal comment when contacting your representatives. The link in the blog is super easy to use, Animal Protection of New Mexico has a letter already prepared for you to send. But… if you included a word or two about your experience following CSNW and the ten sentient chimps that benefit from living out the rest of there lives in a sanctuary environment, it might be eye opening. We have all witnessed firsthand through the blog what sanctuary means to each individual chimp. I always suggest my representatives visit the CSNW website/blog.
We have spent decades advocating for our pets to receive the best care possible within our shelter systems (and keep in mind most everyone can relate to dogs and cats and small pets), and it has been a long hard climb to get where we are today. So imagine trying to convince congress about the dire realities of chimpanzees suffering in ex-laboratory settings. Making your comments personal just might cause one person to look deeper and maybe even change their mind and gain an advocate.
Really great points, thank you!!
Linda C says
Thanks for posting, JB. I missed it due to a YT appearance (yikes! Twice now I’m on the Internet!).
I all but cheered when I saw the news about Antle. I’ve been posting to people who support the petting zoos that the Dec raid results wete going to be something that would stick.
However, that’s VA, and it’s up to the Feds and/or South Carolina to act on that. Any way we can…..um….”encourage ” action in those parts?
Thanks too for the pic of Annie’s hands. I love Annie’s hands…
The new building is coming along! Does this mean that the quarantine wing will no longer have windows?
Hi Linda – The quarantine wing (Phase 1) will still have windows, but they will look into the new playrooms. And those playrooms will have windows that will look into the greenhouses and directly outside. And all rooms will have skylights.
Linda C says
Thanks, JB. I was hoping any new and quarantined chimps would also get to see the trains out the windows, and some sun!