Tim Ajax

Sanctuary 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!

Don’t Underestimate Monkeys!

Published: 09/22/11

(Photograph by Traci Hanson)

Traci Hanson, Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary's on-site manager, writes:

I think that we as humans tend to underestimate animals. They can do far more then we give them credit for. They are very intelligent and they have a wide range of emotions.

The reason I say all that is because I recently underestimated one of the snow monkeys who lives here at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. Her name is Carmelita, and she is blind.

We recently introduced her to a handsome male named Theo. He is very good to her. He is patient with her, and grooms her often. And he is loyal to her. Theo is always coming back to be at her side after he has visited with the neighbors.

One day, several months back, I felt sad for Theo. He is always taking such good care of Carmelita, but he never gets to be groomed himself. This is something that the monkeys truly enjoy, and it strengthens their bonds with each other.

Recently, I was conducting morning rounds and was surprised to see Theo was lying on his back with all four legs spread every which way. Carmelita was sitting next to him. At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I took a second look. To my surprise, Carmelita was using her hands and tongue to groom Theo’s belly and chest.

I was so very happy for Theo. Carmelita had found a way around her blindness to give Theo this special treat.

It was a reminder that I should have known better than to underestimate one of these monkeys.

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