May 2008 Rescue 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!
Freedom at last! Thanks to Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, the retired long-tailed macaques we wrote to you about in May — who had spent years in a research laboratory —are finally living a natural life inside a 5-acre free-range enclosure dense with many trees and other lush vegetation.
The transformation could not be more amazing. Just five months ago, these monkeys were confined in small metal cages. Now they spend their days roaming, playing, climbing, jumping, foraging, and splashing in water — all activities that were denied them for so many years.
The Road to Rehabilitation
The group of 31 long-tailed macaques arrived at our Sanctuary in early May. Since then we have watched them gradually readjust to life outside a laboratory cage — living outdoors, with space, earth, grass, and the companionship of each other. And, most importantly, they have control over their daily lives and are able to make choices about how to spend their days.
title="Dane grooming Erwin" height=150 alt="Dane grooming Erwin" hspace=2 src="https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/images/splash/dane_grooming_erwin.jpg" width=200 align=right vspace=1 After years of social isolation for many, they were at last able to touch and groom each other, and to chase and play. For us, their human caregivers, it has been a rewarding experience to watch these individuals grow stronger physically and emotionally and become less nervous and more confident in their new environment with each passing day.
The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is unique among sanctuaries in the USA as it is the only one that can provide a multi-acre natural environment that enables primates to live as freely as possible. And after a period of rehabilitation, the group was ready for the transition to their final home.
Once released into their new 5-acre enclosure, most of the monkeys immediately disappeared into the thick undergrowth. There they remained for the next few days. Aside from providing food and water each day, we left them undisturbed so they could explore their new home on their own.
We could only imagine what must have been going on in that enclosure as the monkeys adjusted to the space and complexity of their new environment. We could hear them deep in the woods calling out to each other, but could not see them. With the sounds of insects and birds filling the air, and the humidity and wet foliage from days of rain, it was almost as if they were deep in a jungle.
title="Raul" height=150 alt="Raul" hspace=2 src="https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/images/splash/raul.jpg" width=200 align=right vspace=1 Within a few days, we caught the occasional glimpse of an individual as the monkeys began to venture out from the center of their enclosure. Then we started to hear the crackle of branches, and up in the trees first one, then another, and another appeared. It was wonderful to see them sitting right in the treetops, leaping from one branch to the next.
It has truly been emotional and moving to watch these monkeys experience their new found freedom. Although we have not been able to return them to their native habitat, we believe that, in a way, we have returned them to the wild.
New Videos Available
Click the links below to see short videos of the long-tailed macaques enjoying their new enclosure.
title="Foraging in the grass" height=96 alt="Foraging in the grass" hspace=3 src="https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/images/splash/YouTube_Foraging.jpg" width=128 align=left border=0 space="1" Foraging in the grass.
title="Longtail macaques grooming in a tree" height=96 alt="Longtail macaques grooming in a tree" hspace=2 src="https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/images/splash/YouTube_GroomingInTree01.jpg" width=128 align=left border=0 space="1" Longtail macaques grooming in a tree.
title="More of longtail macaques grooming in a tree" height=96 alt="More of longtail macaques grooming in a tree" hspace=3 src="https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/images/splash/YouTube_GroomingInTree02.jpg" width=128 align=left border=0 space="1" More of longtail macaques grooming in a tree.
title="Longtail macaques relax in a tree" height=96 alt="Longtail macaques relax in a tree" hspace=2 src="https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/images/splash/YouTube_RelaxingInTree.jpg" width=128 align=left border=0 space="1" Longtail macaques relax in a tree.>
A Few Words of Gratitude
It is due to the generosity of supporters like you that Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute is able to rehabilitate monkeys such as these long-tailed macaques, and provide them with an environment that enables them to live out the rest of their lives in a natural setting with a minimum of human interference.
This is the difference we are able to make in the life of an individual monkey, but we cannot do this vital work without your continued and much-needed support. Your generous gift today to our Rescue and Rehabilitation Fund will help ensure a brighter tomorrow for other monkeys in need. Each and every dollar makes a difference. Thank you!