We sometimes refer to Missy as “Dr Missy” because she is the go to groomer for keeping any wounds open and draining. She is quick to investigate any scab or stitch her friends might have and remove them (stat!). While having a doctor on hand is a valuable asset, we also need a nurse to perform the daily care and keep our patients’ spirits up. Jody would definitely more than qualify for this position. She has been spending her afternoons with Burrito grooming and playing with him as he finishes his recovery from his rattlesnake bite. As you might be able to tell from the video, Burrito is back to his usual silly self and will hopefully be getting a clean bill of health this weekend.
***Update*** As Chad said perfectly yesterday, Burrito looks more and more like himself everyday! It is such a relief in so many ways, however, we all are being cautiously optimistic because we are not out of the woods yet. So instead of the 1 hour of sleep we have gotten since Saturday, we now get 3 hours ;). But wow let’s all celebrate Burrito being able to sit up, play, eat, and interact with his friends! My heart swell just thinking about it. I am so impressed with our supporters. Your positive thoughts, kind words, and donations have always helped us through some difficult times and we could really feel the love! So truly from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
This how Burrito fell asleep last night before we left. 🙂
Now for a Honey B story. This lady is crazy, but in the best way possible! Yesterday, I was walking by to put enrichment away when Honey B caught my attention. She invited me to hangout with her. She started by grooming the rocks out of my boots then leaped onto the firehouse above her and was laying on it and rocking herself. The girl has some balance, just like her mom. At one point she knocked on the window at one of the construction workers building her soon to be new playrooms. I interpreted it as Honey B saying “Hey, get back to work!” or “Quiet down out there!”. She did a beautiful spin and pirouette off the firehose and erupted into a big game of chase. We were running upstairs, then down stairs, then back upstairs. Finally she let me catch my breath! But only for a moment because she began to twirl herself on the giant mirror. As she did this she was checking herself out. Afterwards she climbed back up on some firehose, brachiated toward me for another version of chase, I guess you could call it hanging chase? So by the end of this you could see why I would be very excited to sit and groom with her after one of her most crazy games.
Also we are anxiously awaiting our first virtual HOOT! this coming Saturday. If you haven’t registered for Happy Hour DO NOT miss out! We have a special cocktail you can make and the chimps will be enjoying their non-alcoholic drink right along with you! Also if you haven’t seen any of the art work you need to stop what you’re doing immediately and go look, but seriously click on this link. I am really in love with Annie in the Snow. It is an original oil on canvas by Leslie Bell. When I look at it I get teary eyed. This is going to be an event you don’t want to miss!
This photo was taken on Sunday I believe. Jamie sat in front room 4 for over 45 minutes and almost fell asleep on duty! I would like to believe it was because she was on watch to make sure Burrito was okay, but to be honest Jamie was probably monitoring what kind of special treats Burrito might have been getting. In her defense, I would do the same thing! I think we can all agree Jamie was making sure her friend was okay and keeping tally of his snack 🙂
Mave. Sweet, goofy, beautiful Mave.
As you might imagine, it’s been an extra, extra busy day in the chimp house! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out the very endearing and very encouraging update Diana and J.B. shared earlier today of Burrito’s continued progress toward healing from the recent rattlesnake bite he received. We will continue to closely monitor him for potential complications over the next several days, so while he isn’t out of the woods yet, each day that passes with his steady progress allows us to breathe a little deeper.
As we mentioned earlier today, many of you have been asking how you can help and so we’ve added a medical fund to our upcoming HOOT! 2020 online auction to help cover the cost of Burrito’s antivenin treatment. We’ve seen your donations coming in these past days in his name and please know how deeply we appreciate your support, in all it’s many and varied forms. The love, support and well wishes that’s been wrapped around Burrito from near and far is felt by us all. And I believe, most importantly, by him. We are profoundly grateful to you for that.
I wasn’t able to capture a dang thing for photos today, but Chad came to the rescue again and has graciously shared photos he captured of these two lovely ladies:
Cute Honey B eating a beet:
Beautiful Jody eating some foraged wild-greens:
I did manage this one a few moments ago. After a full day of visiting and playing with his chimpanzee and human family from his recovery room, working ever so hard at healing, his paper boat emptied of grape snacks, Burrito has tucked himself in and is out for the night:
May we all rest just a little easier as we hold him in our hearts tonight.
This is the time of the year that the inland regions of the Northwest dry out and burn.
Wildfires are a natural and necessary process in the grasslands and forests of the American West, but that doesn’t make them any less daunting. The flames can turn forested hillsides to ash, drive people from their homes, and engulf any structure left in their path. The resulting haze can block out the sun for weeks and make it dangerous for many people to go outdoors. We know more about the role that such infernos play in our ecosystem, but decades of fire suppression have left abundant fuel laying around. Climate change has brought higher temperatures and drier summers, population growth has brought more people into the woods, and development has placed more anthropogenic structures in harm’s way. It’s no surprise that wildfires have grown more intense, frequent, and economically impactful in recent years.
Right now, almost a thousand personnel are fighting a wildfire that has crossed into Kittitas County and descended into its namesake valley. This agricultural hub contains the towns of Ellensburg and Cle Elum, Central Washington University, and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. The sanctuary is not threatened by this blaze (although some past fires were way too close for comfort and led us to develop a mitigation and prevention system), but the plume of smoke was visible from the sanctuary and the valley was covered in a thick blanket of haze for a couple of days (below).
The firefighting crews of the Pacific Northwest spend lots of time preparing for events like this, and their main goal is always to protect human lives and homes while allowing for nature to do its thing. The Evans Canyon Fire, as it is now called, has incinerated over 75,000 acres of land (an area 1/10 the size of my home state) and is still only partially contained. Even with diverse experts, mathematical models, state-of-the-art equipment and dedicated firefighters, one unexpected breeze could drive the fire past the breaks and into new territory. Containment depends on preparedness and insight, of course, but it also depends on luck. For now, the conditions have been forgiving enough to get us through.
This is where we found ourselves this weekend with Burrito Chimpanzee. You can do lots of things to prepare for a scenario like this, and of course we have discussed the possibility of a chimpanzee being bitten by a venomous snake. Ultimately, though, we were grateful that luck was on our side.
The snake only bit one chimpanzee, not any of the others who mobbed it. The chimps retreated, allowing the team to close off the enclosure and carefully remove the confused rattlesnake. Burrito voluntarily isolated himself in an indoor enclosure, permitting immobilization. We obtained the necessary antivenin, and a little extra, quickly. Our entire staff rushed in to help on a weekend, and Dr. Erin was able to wrangle difficult circumstances to get the life-saving treatment into Burrito. Bubba, despite his initial bad luck, once again proved his resilience and strength. There were so many ways that this situation could have unraveled, but we’re glad it didn’t.
Now, the blaze is mostly contained but the fire is not out yet, and we’re still working around the clock to make sure we can respond to any setbacks. Most importantly, the team is monitoring Burrito’s clinical signs 24/7. Diana and J.B. set up a makeshift bed in the foyer of the Chimp House (above) so that people can be around all night, and we have a supply of emergency drugs loaded and ready-to-go on the clinic counter (also above). We have charts covered in hastily scrawled observations and checklists, and we were ready to give him food, meds, and liquids as soon as he was feeling well enough to sit up. Everyone whooped when he first sat up and urinated, and the atmosphere grew even more exuberant when he reached out and took a grape. We all exhaled in relief as Burrito, our resident phoenix, rose from the proverbial ashes and began to play the “poke” game with caregivers from the comfort of his blanket nest (below). J.B. recently remarked that veterinarians never get to eat dinners in peace, but that also seems true for the rest of the sanctuary staff lately. All day, we’ve been sending texts back and forth regarding Burrito’s status, and we’ve been doing our best to keep the greater CSNW community in the loop. I’ve never been so grateful to work with such a supportive, cohesive, dedicated group of people.
With the consultation of veterinary experts, led by our own Dr. Erin, we’re taking every precaution to give Burrito the best chance at a full recovery. He’s a popular guy, overflowing with charisma, and helps us to know that his loyal fans are also supporting our efforts. We look forward to sending you all some more good news very soon. For now, though, all we can do is continue to monitor Bubba and enjoy tonight’s beautiful sunset- one that only a horrific wildfire could paint.
We just wanted let you know that Burrito remained stable overnight and he is resting comfortably this morning. We expect his recovery to be a slow, gradual process and there may be complications along the way, but for now we are cautiously optimistic.
Tonight, Burrito is recovering from a rattlesnake bite.
We heard a commotion on Young’s Hill this morning and went out to find six of the chimps intensely alarm calling and screaming as they surrounded a large snake. Burrito unfortunately got too aggressive in pursuit of the snake and received a bite to the base of his thumb. Thankfully, we were able to get the chimps back inside relatively quickly. We then entered the enclosure, captured the snake, and confirmed that it was indeed a rattler.
Shortly thereafter, Burrito was anesthetized and given a course of antivenin while his symptoms were still relatively mild. At this point he is stable and resting but he is not out of the woods yet.
Diana and I are so grateful for the prompt response from the staff and veterinary team. Burrito will be monitored closely overnight and we promise to update you tomorrow as we know more. Please keep him in your thoughts.
It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year. At times, it’s felt more like a haunted house full of people who have all taken hallucinogenics (or something that is equally chaotic, confusing, and concerning).
Still, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate and we have much to be hopeful for. The chimps’ lives have been largely unaffected by the public health crisis and we’re working hard to keep it that way. Despite the economic uncertainty and logistical hurdles, we’ve managed to keep the residents happy and healthy, sustainably expand our staff, make upgrades to our existing property and facilities, and begin constructing new areas that will hopefully provide a home for more rescued chimpanzees.
All of this progress would be impossible without the financial support that comes from generous supporters, and we’re getting ready to host our biggest fundraising event of the year: HOOT 2020!
Unlike previous years, this edition of HOOT! will be a virtual celebration so that you can all participate from the comfort of your home (or office… we won’t tell anyone if you choose to spend your work day bidding on items). Of course, we’d love to be hosting you all in Seattle for a big ole’ shindig, but the “virtualness” of this year’s party has some benefits of its own. As always, there are some amazing items and experiences up for auction (bidding starts September 2nd!) and the itinerary also includes a happy hour and a pant-hoot contest.
The preparations have been underway for quite some time, but some aspects of the event are still developing. Burrito witnessed something that excited him today, but you’ll have to tune into the event to see what it was…
To get started, you can go to the HOOT! 2020 website hosted by Auction Frogs. Seriously, go to the website! I’m not going to post too many spoilers here, but we have a lot planned for this big event!!!
P.S. Here’s a little spoiler. Saxophone by Tobi Stone.