Chimpanzee

Two chimpanzees living in the Northwest are competing in a national art contest.  The chimps and their caretakers are trying to win a $10,000 first prize for their respective sanctuaries. 

The abstract artwork entered by Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington was created using children's finger paint enhanced with sunflower seed shells. "It's kind of a mixed media piece," says sanctuary outreach director Diana Goodrich. She says the chimp artist is a retired biomedical study subject named Jamie.

The National Institutes of Health Wednesday announced it will retire the great majority of chimpanzees used in federally-supported medical research.

The institute director says the use of our closest animal relative for invasive studies can no longer be justified in most cases. That means more than 300 chimps are headed into retirement. But neither of the two chimpanzee sanctuaries here in the Northwest say they're prepared to take new chimps.

Photo courtesy Friends of Washoe

The director of a chimpanzee institute at Central Washington University says she feels urgency to bring in new animals. The education and research program in Ellensburg is now down to two aging chimps after the weekend death of another ape known for his sign language abilities. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Firefighters on the scene of a destructive wildfire in central Washington are hoping to make major progress Wednesday toward containment of the blaze. The Kittitas County sheriff's office estimates more than 70 homes and cabins have been destroyed. The fire has chased hundreds of people from their homes. Amidst the ashes, correspondent Tom Banse found one unusual story of survival.