by Tim Ajax, Director
Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary
Some people monkey around a little, some people monkey around a lot, and then there's Tim. He's a prince among primates, presiding over hundreds of fellow bipeds in the often-brutal Texas outdoors. There's no ape escape for Tim and his crew, but no matter. They love to help macaques, baboons and vervets live out their lives with as much freedom as possible. And like peeling a banana, Tim's blogs take you to the good stuff inside — with a steady supplement of Texas weather updates, of course!
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.
Here's how the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) Group rescue's first stage unfolded, as told by sanctuary Direct Tim Ajax:
Watch videos of the rescue!
One of the new arrivals on July 25, 2012.
(Photo by Tim Ajax)
Wednesday, July 25: Some exciting news from our Primate Sanctuary in south Texas! The first move of 10 stump-tailed macaques (out of the 107 we will welcome to our sanctuary in the coming weeks from the bankrupt Wild Animal Orphanage) went like clockwork and everyone came through in great shape.
(Click to see an enlarged version.)
After the veterinarian was delayed for a week we had a decision to make. It seems Freeman just about had had his fill of being in a quarantine cage and started acting stressed. Each day staff members carefully transferred him to clean quarters and each day Freeman took longer and longer to exit the transfer cage back into his quarantine cage.
(Click to see an enlarged image.)
Extra food and water were packed for the long trip and there wasn’t a single doubt in Sandy’s mind about what lay ahead of them: a no-rest, grueling, 28-hour drive from Michigan to South Texas. Accompanied by her friend Ruth, the plan was to alternate behind the wheel to keep them fresh for the long trek and allow one of them to keep a close eye on their precious cargo. There was a lot to worry about but there was much to be gained, so they pushed on with determination. From the back of the black truck JR looked out the windows and watched entire worlds go by in the blink of an eye.
Spring has arrived in all its glory, and with recent drought-quenching rains the sanctuary is busy with the colors and sounds of nature — and construction.
Work has begun in earnest as we prepare for the arrival of the primates from the bankrupt Wild Animal Orphanage in nearby San Antonio. More than 100 monkeys and one baboon soon will be transferred to their new home in south Texas.
The macaque before his rescue.
(Photo courtesy of HSUS)
A monkey in Mississippi, long subjected to absolute misery in a cage, on Jan. 25, 2012, began an incredible journey toward living in open spaces along with members of his own species at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.
Our friends at The Humane Society of the United States came across this adult male rhesus macaque after conducting an undercover investigation of the Collins Zoo, where they documented deplorable conditions. The monkey — currently unnamed — was confined to a small cage (watch him frantically pace in the tiny enclosure). Lions, tigers and other exotic animals exhibited signs of malnourishment and neglect, and venomous snakes were held in unsecured enclosures. A black wolf, whom the investigator pointed out to zoo owners as needing veterinary care, was not treated and a few days later died.
Born Free USA To Rescue More Than 100 Animals
Watch videos of the rescue!
Chappy, a crab-eating macaque,
will live at the Primate Sanctuary!
(Photograph courtesy of
and by Michelle Reininger)
(This story appears in the fall/winter 2011 issue of Born Free USA's Animal Issues Digest.)
Fifi, a rhesus macaque, had been a "pet" in a tiny cage in her owner's New York City basement. Her tail was amputated, probably to facilitate putting diapers on her. Chappy, a crab-eating macaque, was a biomedical research subject; the stress of life in the lab led him to pluck his body bald. Dex, a stumptail macaque, also exploited for research, has only his thumb and index finger on his right hand.
Fifi and Chappy and Dex (and Maddie and Leo and Stiggy and dozens of other monkeys) all suffered from the start. But thanks to the caregivers at the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, Texas, they were able to experience comparative freedom from their former abhorrent confinement.
(Photograph by Traci Hanson)
Traci Hanson, Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary's on-site manager, writes:
I think that we as humans tend to underestimate animals. They can do far more then we give them credit for. They are very intelligent and they have a wide range of emotions.