The seven chimps at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest arrived in Cle Elum on June 13 after a three-day nonstop drive from Perkasie, Pa. They were the last...
The seven chimps at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest arrived in Cle Elum on June 13 after a three-day nonstop drive from Perkasie, Pa.
They were the last remaining chimps at the Buckshire Corporation, which at one time housed and leased chimps to labs.
The one male and six females had been injected with hepatitis B vaccine to test for adverse reactions. The females also were used as breeders.
The sanctuary is not open to the public. More information can be found at www.chimpsanctuarynw.org
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The chimps at Cle Elum, as described by J.B. Mulcahy, the sanctuary’s director of operations, along with additional material from the sanctuary are:
• Annie, born in 1974, possibly in the wild. In addition to being used for hepatitis vaccine studies, Annie had five babies during her years in biomedical research, all of them taken from her and put into research themselves. Annie is a curious chimpanzee who allows others in the group to take leadership. Her favorite activity seems to be playing with her best friend Missy. Annie also enjoys lying down in the elaborate beds that she and Missy make.
• Burrito, born in 1983 in a laboratory. Burrito is the youngest chimpanzee and the only male of the group of seven. Burrito was kept in a human home during his toddler years, was leased to an animal act for two years, then returned to a laboratory. Like most male chimpanzees, Burrito has quite an impressive “display” — he stands up and makes himself look large, then finds something to bang on as he runs around. The female chimpanzees get out of his way. Burrito sometimes runs by the females and thumps them with the back of his hand, in human terms, “just to be a jerk.”
• Foxie, born in 1976 in captivity. Foxie is very curious and watchful, and is careful and deliberate in her movements. She spends the most time with Burrito. The two can often be found quietly grooming each other. In the wild, chimps climb trees every night to go to sleep and avoid predators. They fold branches down so they can sleep securely and not fall out of the tree. In captivity, chimps make nests out of blankets. But both Foxie and Burrito, perhaps because in their lab days weren’t given blankets, don’t use them. Foxie adopted a doll to care for at the sanctuary — a Troll doll with bright pink hair.
• Jamie, born in 1977 in captivity. Likely out of boredom in the lab, she had picked all of the hair out of her belly. It’s now mostly grown back. Extremely intelligent, Jamie is very interested in what the humans are doing and monitors the kitchen window as meals are being prepared. The exception to her normally calm demeanor is when fruit is being served at meal times. The other chimps generally let her have what she wants.
• Jody, born in 1975 in captivity. Used primarily for breeding during her years of use by the biomedical research industry, Jody had a total of seven babies during this time. She is thought to be the second in command next to Negra and the other chimpanzees treat her with deference and respect. Jody likes to make huge nests out of the blankets, sheets, clothes and magazines that are provided, sometimes with 15 or more blankets at a time.
• Missy, born in1975 in captivity. Missy had four babies during her years as a biomedical research subject. She likes to play games of tug-of-war with her human caregivers and chase with her chimpanzee companions. She and Annie are best friends and are often seen playing and relaxing together at the sanctuary.
• Negra, born in 1973 in the wild. Captured as an infant in Africa, much of Negra’s life was spent in biomedical research laboratories. There are 60 “knockdowns” on her lab records, meaning she was anesthetized with a syringe or dart gun. She is a strong individual and has been called the queen of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees. Negra enjoys the sheets and blankets that are provided, and she has a nightly ritual of sitting up on a ledge and completely covering herself with a blanket. She stays like this for a few minutes, then peeks her face out so that the blanket is wrapped around her body and head like a hooded poncho.