This summer has turned out to be abnormally humid, although the temperatures have been comparatively moderate. Everything remains lush from the rains we received from hurricane Alex and a tropical storm that followed shortly after. While the Rio Grande Valley suffered from flooding, we made it through with a few inches of rain which hit at just the right time to keep everything growing. All-in-all, the conditions are just right for our residents, which include some exciting new arrivals!
When one door closes, another one opens, and the transition can be a wonderful thing. Following the closing of an East Coast pharmaceutical laboratory, 15 long-tailed macaques received a second chance at life — a peaceful retirement at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. They arrived on Saturday, July 17, safe and sound after a 1,700-mile journey. The monkeys, all males weighing between 9 and 15 pounds and younger than 6 (long-tail macaques can live up to 30 years), initially were evaluated in temporary cages in a climate-controlled room. Soon after, Sanctuary Director Tim Ajax began the slow, delicate task of transitioning the rescues to a 5-acre enclosure with trees, grass and lots of other macaques.
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With ample rainfall over the winter and moderate temperatures for spring we had quite a show here. The diversity of plant life was impressive and the colors were brilliant. Everywhere we looked seas of yellow, orange, purple and red dominated the landscape providing plenty of stimulation for the monkeys and critical habitat for the native species. Even the trees got into the act with fresh-leaved mesquites glowing neon green.
2010 has gotten off to a very cold start. In fact, it has been one of the coldest winters in more than ten years here. For several nights in a row we had temperatures hovering in the teens and while the baboons shivered and the snow monkeys snuggled for warmth, staff worked hard to make sure everyone had plenty of hay and heat for the more sensitive primates. Pipes froze, the ground crackled underfoot, and the small ponds iced over.
From Animal Issues, Volume 40 Number 4, Winter 2009
Throughout the long, tough summer we managed to get quite a bit done for the Sanctuary. But activity really picked up as Fall brought cooler temperatures and better working conditions. There were two main issues on our plate that we were determined to push through and I’m happy to say we’ve had great success, thanks in large part to our hard-working staff and the generosity of our supporters and foundations.
Relief from the unusually hot and dry summer has arrived. Daytime highs in the low 80s and overnight lows in the upper 50s make it very pleasant. With some good rainfall in October the area has turned lush and we stay busy keeping fence-lines mowed and doing our best to catch up on smaller projects.
From Animal Issues, Volume 40 Number 3, Fall 2009
The past 8 to 12 months have certainly been very busy at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. As I told you when I introduced myself, we recently completed a new, lush 2.5 acre enclosure for our group of baboons. Initially, I was most concerned about one of our older olive baboons, Boon, and his adjustment to the new surroundings following the 2008 death of his longtime companion, Holly. But Boon is thriving and when he’s not busy roaming the dense underbrush foraging for snacks he can be found perched stoically atop a large fallen tree — free to be a baboon.
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