Imagine living your whole life without ever feeling the sun on your body.

Sunlight exposure has natural benefits, such as increasing growth rates in children, lowering cholesterol, preventing and/or curing depression, and promoting healthy bone growth.

Some of us can’t even imagine a month without feeling the sun. Now imagine being 31 years old and living in a basement in a cage without having any sun exposure at all.

That’s exactly what happened to Jamie, a 40ish-year-old chimpanzee believed to have been born in 1977, now living at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest for the past nine years. Jamie appears to be a very happy chimp living on 2 acres which

Today, Jamie appears to be a very happy chimp. She lives in a two-acre facility which includes a sunlit greenhouse that she frequently visits.

Sadly, life was not always this way for Jamie. Before arriving at the sanctuary under the care of loving people, Jamie had lived in a basement with no sunlight at all.

Her records indicate that she was likely used in hepatitis B vaccine trials, and possibly as a breeder. Technicians wrote in her records that she “pulls hair from stomach,” a behavior typical and expected of animals with no control over their life of boredom.

Jamie, and chimps in general, are very intelligent and social beings, so years of isolation and boredom had surely taken their toll.

Thankfully, Jamie no longer lives in a cage and now has freedom and the love and care that she needs. Though she still shows signs of hair pulling, the behavior and its effects have greatly decreased in her new environment. What used to be large patches of hair gone are now very small patches.

Now, instead of being confined to a cage, Jamie draws, puts together tools, takes things apart, works on tricky mind involving projects, and explores her new habitat.

It breaks our hearts to know the suffering and anguish Jamie endured for so many years, but we are happy to know that for the rest of her life, she will be shown the love and kindness she deserves.

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