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!
This week we continued with the introductions of one of the mixed groups of former “pet” macaques that include India, the young pig-tailed macaque. Over the past few weeks, we have gradually introduced various combinations of the individuals — the goal being to establish one large social group of seven individuals. The final introduction involved direct contact for the first time between Zach and Teddy (the two rhesus macaques in the group) and Joey, a crested black macaque.
We have been a little apprehensive about this introduction because both Zach and Joey are dominant males. Although they have been living next to each other for a few months, we did not know how they would react together when in the same enclosure. As with any of our introductions, it was closely supervised. Joey must have sensed something because he was queuing at the gate, between the two enclosures, before we even opened it. He immediately ran through into Teddy and Zach’s enclosure followed closely by Gilbert and India. Joey is a very animated and excitable monkey and his way to greet others is by charging after them while vocalizing loudly. Joey’s enthusiasm wasn’t quite matched by Zach and Teddy who looked rather put out by his arrival. Nevertheless, events took a surprising and welcome turn when it soon became clear that Zach had no inclination to challenge Joey and his assumed position of dominance. After some minor chasing and vocalizing, within a short period of time, things had settled down well.
We are cautiously optimistic that this new social group of Joey, Teddy, Zach, India, Gilbert, Florence, and Justin will continue as a stable group. These individuals will benefit from the extra companionship provided by each other as well as the extra space from opening up both enclosures.
Until next week,