Tim Ajax

Sanctuary Blog

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!

“Adopt” a Primate

Published: 08/20/07

At the API Primate Sanctuary, macaques, vervets, and baboons rescued from abuse and exploitation get a second chance at a more natural life. The Sanctuary’s Adopt a Primate program lets you give the Sanctuary residents the gift of a bright tomorrow by “adopting” one of them today.

Clearly, wild animals belong in the wild, not as “pets.” Take the case of Justin, a “pet” Japanese macaque who scratched and bit a Mississippi IRS agent.

What Justin’s former “owner” failed to appreciate was that rearing nonhuman primates in captivity causes tremendous emotional strife and leads to aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, people often remove the teeth of these animals thinking, incorrectly, that this will make them “safer” to humans. Despite having been mutilated in this fashion, Justin, like other monkeys, was still able to cause injury by biting and scratching. As a result of his attack on the IRS agent last April, this led to his confiscation and, luckily for him, also to his rescue. After several weeks in custody, Justin was placed at our Sanctuary through the efforts of the Mississippi Animal Rescue League in Jackson.

Justin, as the latest inhabitant of the API Primate Sanctuary, joins more than 400 nonhuman primates, most of whom live with as little human interference as possible, in open-topped, free-ranging enclosures of several acres.

“Keeping nonhuman primates as ‘pets’ is cruel,” says Dr. Ned Buyukmihci, veterinarian and co-director of the Sanctuary. “It results in severe emotional and behavioral problems which lead to dysfunctional behavior, often including attacks on people. Rather than blaming the animal in this case, people need to realize that their incarceration of these wild animals is what causes the ‘problem.’”

To “adopt” a primate or find out more about life at the Sanctuary, visit www.api4primates.org.

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