Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Washoe-Child of the CWU Community Dies

Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Washoe-Child of the CWU Community Dies

Article excerpt

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Washoe, the beloved chimpanzee of Central Washington University, whose name is synonymous with The Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) died on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 of natural causes at the age of 42. She was the first nonhuman to acquire a human language, American Sign Language.

"Washoe was a treasured member of our family," says Roger and Deborah Fouts, co-founders of the institute.

Dr. Roger Fouts and his wife Deborah came to CWU in 1980 and created a sanctuary for Washoe and her family. Roger and Deborah are at the forefront of promoting and developing humane research methods. As Jane Goodall is quoted in a book by Dr. Fouts, entitled Next of Kin, "Roger, through his ongoing conversations with Washoe and her extended family, has opened a window into the cognitive workings of a chimpanzee's mind that adds new dimension to our understanding."

CHCI is a place where students learn that research and care giving can be compassionate and to take their next of kin on their own terms. Visitors to the institute learn from Washoe and her family the connections shared between humans and our fellow beings and the importance of being responsible stewards for all life.

Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold, assistant director of the institute, commented, "Washoe was an emissary, bringing us a message of respect for nature. …

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