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!
From Animal Issues, Volume 38 Number 3, Fall 2007
Justin, a young male snow monkey, has become the latest resident to join the API Primate Sanctuary.
Justin was seized from his “owners” by Animal Control in Mississippi after attacking an IRS agent who visited the home. Sadly, his life story is all too typical of nonhuman primates kept as “pets.” Raised in isolation from others of his kind, he was mutilated in an attempt to reduce aggressive behavior; his front teeth have been removed.
Unfortunately, tooth removal is a common practice for people who keep wild and exotic animals as “pets.” Not only is it cruel, it also fails to make the animals “safer” around humans. A monkey is at a distinct disadvantage without front teeth with respect to interacting with other monkeys. Not only are these teeth used for eating and as a form of defense, they are also important in displaying to other monkeys as a means of “threat” or protection.
On arrival at the API Primate Sanctuary, Justin made a pitiful sight. He was underweight with poor muscle development and had difficulty climbing and jumping. The lack of front teeth has given his mouth a partially collapsed appearance.
Now living in a spacious semi-natural enclosure with an earthen floor, grass, and other vegetation, he has, probably for the first time in his life, the opportunity to see, hear, smell, and touch other monkeys. Initially Justin was overwhelmed by these new experiences, but within a short period of time he gained confidence and started to vocalize to the monkeys who live next to him and to explore his new surroundings.
Although still underweight, his muscle tone and dexterity are improving and he is adjusting emotionally and socially to his new life. We hope it will not be too long before he is able to be housed directly with others of his kind.