The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Seven Chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctaury Northwest

I know for a FACT that the woman, Gini Valbuena , once had a Chimpanzee named Chaos. I wonder if this is him? If it is, that would mean that she sold him to a lab and then he was rescued by this Sanctuary. Gini Valbuena never says where all of her Chimpanzees go once they reach the age of about 5-6 yrs old. She has been noted several times in many articles that they go to a Sanctuary, but won't say where. First off, good Sanctuaries would not take in pet Chimpanzees if the owner continues to buy and get rid of them. Secondly, there's no sanctuary that houses the Chimpanzee names of Gini Valbuneas ex-pets.

Thank You Sarah Baeckler, for your deep devotion and love for these Chimpanzees. If only there were more people like you, this world would be a nicer place for ALL Chimpanzees!

A Special Thank You to Keith LaChappell for having such a huge heart and giving your life savings to save these Chimpanzees! Everyday I'm sure they thank you with a warmness in their heart, a smile on their face and the trust they now have in their caretakers. If only, you could be cloned.


Seven apes arrived last year in Cle Elum. They’d been used up by medical science and the entertainment industry—and left to rot in tiny cages. Then one man showed them the depths of human kindness.

By James Ross Gardner

Photo: All photographs courtesy Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

OH, IT’S CHAOS. Like a toy store after a hurricane. Scattered Fisher-Price play stations—with all those horns, buttons, and dials—thrown in with piles of brightly colored blocks, troll dolls, pink tutus, and neckties fit for circus clowns. And that’s before the residents, back from lunch, come knuckle dragging in to tear up the playroom some more, ripping cardboard boxes, tossing chairs. Some don mismatched socks on their handlike feet and build makeshift tents out of blankets. The ringleader, a chimp named Jamie, throws a tutu over her waist, goes Jackson Pollock with a fistful of Crayolas on a sheet of paper, and spits water at the humans gawking near the playroom gates.

The seven chimps at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, a 26-acre farm five miles east of Cle Elum, have never had it better. Until a year and half ago, the apes were the wards of a Pennsylvania company that rents out lab animals and had spent decades as medical test subjects—pumped full of drugs and split open for biopsies. At least two also had stints in showbiz.

The sanctuary, opened in 2008, is a far cry from the cramped, windowless warehouse basement the animals came from. Their 18,000-cubic-foot “chimp house” includes a roomy two-story play area, four interconnected front rooms, windows that look out onto the Cascade forests, and an outdoor area where the apes swing on the monkey bars of a 15-foot climbing structure. A staff of primatologists serves them fruit smoothies in the mornings, stages elaborate birthday parties involving fruit-filled piƱatas, and films their daily antics, especially those of Jamie, a 32-year-old primeval Huck Finn whose knack for outwitting other chimps keeps the staff scratching their heads.

For Sarah Baeckler, who runs the sanctuary with two former Central Washington University classmates, the creation of CSNW came as a bittersweet triumph at the end of a painful and sometimes frightening decade of watching chimps suffer under the cruelest conditions. For Keith LaChappelle, who drained his life savings to create the sanctuary, CSNW culminates six years of labor, during which he was forced to confront the source of his once ample riches.

LaChappelle read a Discover article in 2003 that changed his life. A construction project manager at Immunex, a bioengineering firm on Seattle’s Western Avenue, LaChappelle was thumbing through a year-old copy of the magazine when he came across “An Embarrassment of Chimps,” a story about a sanctuary in Montreal that rescued 15 chimpanzees from a New York lab.

The article plunged LaChappelle into the world of captive chimpanzees. He learned how researchers infect hundreds of our closest relatives—chimps share more than 95 percent of our DNA—with viruses like HIV and hepatitis, inject them with unproven drugs, cut them open for organ biopsies, and discard them when they’re no longer of use.


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