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!
Summer begins today, but it has felt like August for the past month and a half here at the sanctuary. We’ve had weeks now with highs in the hundreds and little cloud cover. We’ve received barely a half-inch of rain since February and there is only a spattering of vegetation left. Dust devils raise gyrating columns of red dirt here and there around the sanctuary and the water from the faucets now runs warm most of the time. The lack of ground cover combined with the relentless sun (which shines without a break from 6:30 in the morning until 8:30 in the evening) heats the soil up and then that heat is radiated back at night, keeping the environment uncomfortably warm. It looks like we could be in for a dangerously hot and dry summer.
While Texas is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its recorded history, the monkeys here go about their business as if nothing unusual is occurring. Staff members work hard to make sure everyone has plenty of water, and the monkeys long ago figured out that a dip in a water tub followed by a windy drying off in the shade is a great way to keep cool. The splashes of monkeys playing in the water or canon-balling into their water troughs can be heard in every enclosure, and most every monkey seen these days is either wet or about to get wet again.
The drought is affecting the sanctuary in other ways, too, as produce prices have risen sharply and the amount of donated or low-priced produce has dwindled down to only a trickle. Each week we have to spend more to get less food for the monkeys, and it’s not just produce: our dry feed is now costing more as a result of higher gasoline prices. We’ve already spent more on monkey food so far this year than we had by August of last year, and we could use some help. Please just do it: Go Nuts! Go Bananas! Make a donation! And feel good about helping all the primates here get through this hot summer!
Until Next Time…