Last night I was going through some old documents and newspaper articles and reading about the history of chimpanzees being retired to sanctuaries, and, in particular, activists who worked to get chimpanzees out of Buckshire, where the seven chimpanzees living at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest came from.
I will share more details at a later time, but one thing that really struck me was the extremely dedicated people who worked for years to help chimpanzees who they had never even met.
Working at and for a sanctuary can be hard work, but the reward is constant. There is a direct connection between the care that goes into sanctuary work and witnessing happy chimpanzees benefit from your labor. Most people who work in sanctuaries are also advocates, but our priority, as it should be, is to provide the very best life possible for those we care for at the sanctuary.
People who work full-time as activists and animal advocates don’t often have this direct reward. Their work, which often involves endlessly writing complaints and submitting FOIA requests, or working to change legislation, can be arduous. They know that there is wrong being done, and they work to create better outcomes, but it often takes years to see an outcome; all too often nothing comes of their hard work. Then, when there is a happy ending, they move on to the next animal or animals who are suffering.
But their work is precisely what has made the sanctuary life for the Cle Elum Seven, and for other animals in sanctuaries, possible.
Today I would like to publicly thank them and let them know that in my head and heart I thank them each time I think of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees, which is pretty much all the time.
Negra foraging for lunch:
Foxie with Dora and friend:
Jamie and Burrito patrolling together:
Burrito finishing up the patrol around the hill:
Annie and Missy at the top of Twister:
Jody in profile: