Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW) is located on 90 acres of farm and forested land in the Cascade mountains, 90 miles east of Seattle.
We would like to acknowledge that the sanctuary is located on the traditional land of the Kittitas band of the Yakama Tribe. The native Kittitas people referred to what we now call the Cle Elum River near the sanctuary as Tle-el-Lum, meaning Swift Water.
Non-native settlers came to the area to mine coal. The Northern Pacific Railway was built next to the river, which accelerated mining efforts in the early 1900s. The railway is still used for freight, and the chimpanzees often gather to watch the train go by.
CSNW is one of only a handful of sanctuaries in the country that cares for chimpanzees.
CSNW was founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries. On June 13, 2008, Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy, and Negra arrived from a private biomedical facility in Pennsylvania. Some of the chimpanzees were kept as pets and used in entertainment when they were young. Some of them were captured in Africa as infants. All of them were used by the biomedical research industry to test hepatitis vaccines. Most of the females were also used as breeders during their years in labs and their babies were taken from them shortly after birth.
In 2019, three more chimpanzees, Honey B, Mave, and Willy B, were added to the sanctuary from Wildlife Waystation, a wild animal shelter outside of Los Angeles that closed its doors after more than 40 years. In 2021, we welcomed Cy, Dora, Gordo, Lucky, Rayne, and Terry (The Lucky Six) from Wildlife Waystation. All nine of the most recently added chimpanzees also began their lives in the biomedical research industry.
The sanctuary also cares for three rescued cows and a steer who provide grazing services in exchange for our affection and occasional treats.
All of the chimpanzees at CSNW enjoy a rich social life in an exciting indoor and outdoor environment where they have choices to make every day. Each day brings new adventures, and we chronicle their transformations and experiences on our blog.