Primate Info Net Banner Wisconsin PRC Logo

Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (Established 1980)
Primate Center, Lab or Research Program
Web Site:

Director: Deborah H. Fouts
Phone: 1 (509) 963-2244   Fax: 1 (509) 963-2234   E-Mail:
400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, Washington 98926-7573 UNITED STATES
Institution: Central Washington University
Affiliations: Central Washington University, Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute

Mission: The Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute is dedicated to research of communication between and within these species. It also strives to show that good empirical research can and must be humane. This includes developing ways to improve the basic living conditions of captive primates that address not only their physical needs, but their psychological needs as well.

Principal Research Programs: Enrichment; Communication; Chimpanzee behavior; Sign language

Training Opportunities: Educational opportunities available for: Undergraduate, Graduate, Continuing Education; Primate Behavior and Ecology undergraduate degree. Program emphasis: Communication; Primate behavior; Captive care and enrichment techniques; Financial support rarely available; Note: A fee is charged per week to CHCI - CWU for all off campus students and visiting scientists. At the beginning of each academic year, 10-15 new volunteers and 1 work-study employees are accepted to this laboratory and must be enrolled in Primate 220 class that is only offered Fall quarter. Each student spends 6-8 hours per week working in the lab. Training of new student volunteers consists of an intensive six month study of chimpanzee behavior and laboratory routine, etc. Because of the time invested in each student, a minimum of eighteen month commitment is required. Freshmen are encouraged to volunteer in this laboratory because they have a potential four years to build relationships with the chimpanzees. This provides not only a stable group of companions for the chimpanzees, but allows the student to take a more active role in the ongoing research. Students from a variety of disciplines are welcome. Each applicant is required to complete a minimum of one course in American Sign Language as well as the Primate 220 class. Graduate students working in Primate Behavior MS program and experimental psychology are also encouraged to apply. Working here provides a good opportunity to learn and practice experimental methodology as well as captive care. There are 1-2 assistantships available. Students who work in the lab are trained in a wide variety of areas. The major areas are live data collection, video transcription, chimpanzee enrichment techniques (including both social and object enrichment), as well as caretaking and maintenance tasks. There is also an opportunity for motivated students to conduct their own supervised projects.

Number of Staff: 6

Supported Species: 2 Pan troglodytes troglodytes (Central African chimpanzee), 1 Pan troglodytes verus (Western chimpanzee)

Publications: "Friends of Washoe Newsletter" (quarterly)

Comments: We offer a 8-week summer apprentice program.

Last Updated: 2009-06-02

[Edit Entry] [Delete Entry] [Search IDP]