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For Immediate Release: 09/07/11

Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary Provides Permanent Home for “Monkey” a Baboon Once Kept in Wisconsin Basement

The 3-year-old baboon who was surrendered to Dane County Wisconsin Animal Services in August after living in a basement laundry room arrived last week safe and sound at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas, from his temporary home at the Dane County Humane Society. The Olive baboon named Monkey joins 13 other baboons in a 2.5-acre enclosure at the 186-acre sanctuary, home to 532 primates, many of whom were rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession.

Monkey has been exploring his newfound freedom and experiencing other primates for the first time. Video available here and here. Photos can be found here.

According to Tim Ajax, director of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, Born Free USA has one of the few sanctuaries — perhaps the only in the country — with a large baboon habitat. “When we heard about the plight of the young male baboon who had been living in a basement, we gave careful consideration as to whether or not we could address his needs and ‘rehabilitate’ him to the point that he would have a good chance of integrating into our established group,” Ajax said. “We are pleased to be able to offer him a permanent home in a large, natural environment where he can spend the rest of his life in the company of other baboons.”

Monkey — who will enjoy a more interesting and appropriate name with the help of the public through Born Free USA’s naming contest — is adjusting “very well,” Ajax added. “He is racing around and is incredibly fast and athletic. He is experiencing pure joy being able to finally stretch out and run like a young baboon should. He is now enjoying watching the other baboons with great interest!”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, said, “Monkey’s story is not unique, as there is an epidemic in this country of keeping exotic animals as pets. Wild animals belong in the wild. Injury or death can happen at any time, anywhere, as a result of someone keeping a wild animal as a pet. We are happy we can help this baboon — and many other animals in need, but this is not always the case.” Born Free USA tracks such incidents through its online database designed as a resource for the media, lawmakers, activists and the public, to help shed light on the magnitude of the issue.

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade. BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession. BFUSA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation,” the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

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