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!
In the last post I said we were glad for the warming trend and relief from the cold — OK, enough with the heat, is Fall coming soon? It’s been in the mid to upper 90s for some time and we’re seeing the monkeys locating shade and water earlier in the afternoons. Though it’s hot and will be even hotter as summer arrives, there’s always some fun to be had by “kids” of any age (or species) as the picture shows.
We did receive more than an inch of rain a week and a half ago and it provided a nice break as thick, dark clouds advanced across the horizon and then emptied on the parched land. I’ve heard that if we don’t get rain over the next few weeks it’s likely we won’t see any at all until hurricane season. In an already drought-ridden area that could spell further trouble. With that in mind we’ve laid plans for our water upgrade project which will allow us to have 6,000 gallons of storage in case of well failure. This project also includes filtration and ozone treatment which will significantly improve the water quality for monkeys and humans alike. We’ve submitted grant requests to foundations and are hoping to hear some positive news soon.
All of the retama trees on the property are in bloom and birds, bees, and others flock to the beautiful yellow flowers. Like many of the native species here, the retama is well-equipped to protect itself with sharp thorns which, I can tell you from personal experience, are pretty painful. Nice to look at but I’ll leave the browsing to the local fauna — and the monkeys who somehow manage to pick them clean.
The prickly pear are in full bloom now and soon there will be an abundance of “tuna,” the ripe fruit of the cactus, which the monkeys will feast on. Their lips will stain purple from the juices as they gorge on the tasty fruit. I’ll be sure to post pictures of the evidence!
While the land continued its transformation and the retamas and cactus bloomed, Flecka, one of our older snow monkeys, passed away quietly in the night of natural causes. It’s always tough to see someone go but I remain convinced that the quality of the life lived is the core issue and feel comforted that he spent his time here with companions in a natural setting under open sky as opposed to life in a barren cage.
We’ve started to rebuild some of the climbing structures in the enclosures and need to purchase more wood and hardware. We also want to buy some low-pressure water misters to help the monkeys keep their cool this summer. So, please consider adopting a primate or making a donation to help us provide the very best for the monkeys here — we’ll put your generosity to good use. If you think your company might be able to help with a material donation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.