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For Immediate Release: 09/28/11

Baboon Update

New Name, New Home, New Friends, and a Great Outlook for a Baboon Once Kept In a Wisconsin Basement Laundry Room

The 3-year-old baboon who was surrendered to Dane County (WI) Animal Services this summer and cared for temporarily by the Dane County Humane Society after living in a basement laundry room is doing “great” at his new, permanent home at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas. In August, the olive baboon joined 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.

In addition to experiencing other primates and the outdoors for the very first time, the baboon — who arrived with the name Monkey — is getting used to his new name, Dane, chosen by a Born Free USA supporter, to honor the Dane County Humane Society, which took care of him during his transition. More than 150 supporters wrote to Born Free USA agreeing with the organization that he deserved a new, more suitable name now that he has a new, more suitable home.

According to Tim Ajax, the primate sanctuary’s director, “Dane is doing great. He continues to eat well and is very active running around his enclosure. He is intensely curious about the other baboons and watches their every move. He is now interacting with other baboons, though Marvin continues to be his closest ally. He even joins the alarm calls of the others when something disturbs them, like a snake or vehicle in the distance.”

Ajax continues, “Dane is learning who is high-ranking and will try to get the lower-ranking individuals in trouble by screaming at them when they’re just minding their own business. This brings the others running to see what he’s upset about while chasing off the low-ranking ones. It is all part of his social adjustments and is perfectly normal. For his own protection and the protection of the other animals, it will likely be a while before we can let him out into the multi-acre enclosure, but we are very pleased with his progress. He loves just about everything we feed him but consistently picks up the banana first, peels it, and then shoves almost all of it into his cheek pouch in one motion!”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, said, “Dane represents the horrendous epidemic in this country of keeping exotic animals as pets — primates, reptiles, big cats, and more — posing danger to the ‘owner,’ the animal and the public. Wild animals belong in the wild. Injury or death happens over and over again around the country when people keep a wild animal as a pet. It must stop before the next tragedy occurs.”

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.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, (203) 270-8929; rodicompany@earthlink.net.

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