Since so much of our energy is occupied taking care of the incredible primates here at the Sanctuary, we sometimes lose sight of another very important goal: educating the public on the plight of primates in the wild and in captivity, especially about why they don't make good pets (and of course, the good work we do here at the Sanctuary). This past week, we took the opportunity to connect with our human neighbors at the New Braunfels Public Library in New Braunfels, Texas.
Over two and a half years ago (though it only seems like yesterday), Bella, a young female snow monkey, arrived at the Sanctuary. Though well cared for by her guardian, she had become intolerably aggressive toward other family members and was especially jealous of human females. Bella behaved the same way at the Sanctuary, getting along fine with the female caretakers until a human male came into view—and then becoming highly aggressive toward those females. She routinely fought with other monkeys through the fence, and depended on our daily interactions with her for self-assurance.
What an exciting week we’ve had at the Sanctuary. In the sweltering south Texas heat, a crew from Texas Purple Sage Services and our dedicated staff built a more than half-acre enclosure, complete with climbing structures, shelters, native habitat, and five 20’ x 20’ covered safety areas to welcome our newest residents. We’ve spent months preparing for the arrival of nine new baboons and on September 17, 2013, the big day finally came.
Click on image for larger version.
(Photograph by Tim Ajax)
We were more than a little nervous about the introduction. Elvis had been through a tremendous amount of upheaval and instability in his short life, and we weren’t certain that his soon-to-be-roommate would be accepting of him. Both of these primates are victims of the exotic “pet” trade and were stolen from their biological mothers when only a few days old. They were then unnaturally reared by humans who thought they were “cute.”
The happy ending of a two-year saga for 107 macaques and one baboon is finally here. In September, the last group of primates was successfully transported from their former home at the now-closed Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, TX, to their new home at the 186-acre Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, TX. Now, as the year comes to an end, Born Free USA reports that the animals are all adjusting and settling into their spacious digs — the place they will call home for the rest of their lives.
Staff member Shanay Dickey has been spending some quality time with the WAO stumptails. She writes:
"Dewey is the youngest stump-tail macaque who has joined our sanctuary from the recent WAO rescue. He often is seen playing on the new 'spider' climbing structures and bouncing on the shade-sails that double as a trampoline for the more adventurous monkeys. While this playful behavior is quite entertaining to watch, there are also heartwarming moments.
Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary Director Tim Ajax continues to post on Facebook as the Wild Animal Orphanage rescue enters its final days.
Wednesday, Sept. 26: It’s almost hard to believe but the very last of the primates from the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio arrived here late this afternoon. Kaleb, a hamadryas baboon, and 17 long-tails made the final trip down and were introduced to their new homes under bright blue south Texas skies.
After all these months of hard work involving so many compassionate, dedicated people, it feels a little anti-climactic for this huge rescue to be concluded.
Here are Sanctuary Tim Ajax's Facebook page posts about the Wild Animal Orphanage rescue as it continued to unfold in the summer of 2012:
Monday, Sept. 17: We’ve finally cooled down a bit as weekend storms dumped about 4 inches of badly needed rain on the sanctuary. This is the first rain the WAO monkeys have seen after being relocated to their new homes.
We were curious to see if they used the big shelters to keep out of the rain, but old and young alike were out playing in the wet stuff, even in the downpours. Stump-tails were swaying in the branches or clearing water off their platforms by sweeping their hands back and forth, and the entire hybrid group was out playing in puddles or chasing each other across the trampoline-like shade sails. Every now and then one of them would shake back and forth rapidly and water would fly in every direction, drenching any monkey within range.
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