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!
2010 has gotten off to a very cold start. In fact, it has been one of the coldest winters in more than ten years here. For several nights in a row we had temperatures hovering in the teens and while the baboons shivered and the snow monkeys snuggled for warmth, staff worked hard to make sure everyone had plenty of hay and heat for the more sensitive primates. Pipes froze, the ground crackled underfoot, and the small ponds iced over.
The baboons did their best to stay warm in their shelters but they were clearly not liking this weather! Their pinched faces peeked out from the hay-filled boxes seeming to wish the miserable cold away. In stark contrast the snow monkeys had a great time play-fighting and running all over the enclosures, but they quickly learned the best fun was to be had at the ponds. They slipped, slid, and played tag around, over, and through the frozen water and spent hours breaking up sheets of ice. They taste-tested every piece they broke loose and all morning I could hear the munching and crunching of ice as the snow monkeys enjoyed their new environment.
In December we said our goodbyes to Boon. I will always remember his stoic countenance as he ambled around the enclosure on his spindly, malformed legs or perched majestically on his favorite wood pile. He had suffered much at the hands of humans but managed to remain a baboon through and through. He was laid to rest under a tree on the property where he finally had a true home, and while we remain sad at his passing we are also honored to be able to provide a natural setting where animals like Boon can finally have some space and peace and just be themselves.
We’re looking ahead to what we think will be an incredibly beautiful spring as we’ve had plenty of rain and despite the cold everything is already growing quickly. Last year’s flower show was non-existent due to the arid conditions but this year just might be amazing.
Thanks to a local food bank we received a donation of 20 pallets of broccoli which really helped our produce bill. In addition to eating it everyone likes to sit and pick it apart. Of course whatever is left over will break down and enrich the soil. We really appreciate the donation and hope we haven’t added to global warming. ;)
In case it’s slipped your mind (probably not a good idea) it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day and we have some fun ways to let your favorite primate know how you feel and at the same time provide some help for the monkeys here.
Until next time ...