The WAO Group
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!
Here are Sanctuary Tim Ajax's Facebook page posts about the Wild Animal Orphanage rescue as it continued to unfold in the summer of 2012:
Monday, Sept. 17: We’ve finally cooled down a bit as weekend storms dumped about 4 inches of badly needed rain on the sanctuary. This is the first rain the WAO monkeys have seen after being relocated to their new homes.
We were curious to see if they used the big shelters to keep out of the rain, but old and young alike were out playing in the wet stuff, even in the downpours. Stump-tails were swaying in the branches or clearing water off their platforms by sweeping their hands back and forth, and the entire hybrid group was out playing in puddles or chasing each other across the trampoline-like shade sails. Every now and then one of them would shake back and forth rapidly and water would fly in every direction, drenching any monkey within range.
Rain test: Check!
Monday, Aug. 20: Amazing what a difference a few weeks make! The once shy hybrid macaques have become much more active and the youngsters frequently split from the adults to play games like tag, pounce-your-neighbor or shake-that-tree. Still, when something startles them, their furry little bodies can be seen scampering across the dirt with tails high heading for the nearest adult. The stump-tails have settled in too and discovered the wonders of swaying in the treetops as the sun sets each night. They look so peaceful and at home and we’re so thankful for everyone’s support in making this adventure a reality!
Saturday, Aug. 11: It was time to get out and explore their new home as the 29 hybrid macaques transferred to the sanctuary from Wild Animal Orphanage on Thursday and Friday were released out into their spacious new enclosure today. They were a little timid at first, but after only a couple of minutes everyone, including moms and babies, had left the safety areas and were busy making the rounds. The adults moved about cautiously while the youngsters seemed fearless with curiosity and it didn’t take them long to discover the shade sail trampolines, swimming tanks and mesquite trees. It’s incredibly rewarding to see these intelligent primates moving about in a large area choosing who to associate with and what to do!
Friday, Aug. 10: Incredible day as the other 13 hybrids joined the rest of their group — they were calling back and forth even as they were being offloaded from the trailer. Everyone exited the transfer crates quickly and put as much distance as possible between themselves and humans and it didn’t take them long to reacquaint themselves with old friends. There are several babies in this group (conceived before the males were sterilized back in March) and they are incredibly cute. As adorable as they appear to us it’s obvious, when you see them with their natural mother, that the best life for them is one of freedom with their own kind!
Thursday, Aug. 9: Long day for monkeys and humans alike but we now have over half of the hybrid group here at their new home. Sixteen arrived early this afternoon and they are settling in nicely. Tomorrow the remaining members of the group will join these and then Saturday they are scheduled to be let out into the main enclosure where climbing structures, swings and large swimming tubs await! One of the youngsters waits patiently (or not) for us to fill his small tub.
Thursday, Aug. 2: Everyone from the new stump-tailed group looked in good shape this morning so we opened the gate to their large enclosure and off they went to explore. First on the list of things to do was meet and greet the neighbors who arrived a week earlier. Through the fence noses touched, lips smacked and fingers tested, and so far, so good. We hope they will like each other so we can let them all in together at a later date. Of course, the mesquite beans needed testing …
(Photographs by Tim Ajax)
Wednesday, Aug. 1: The second group of stump-tails from the WAO arrived safely today. We’ve been keeping a close eye on them due to the heat but they seem to be handling it well. They were anxious to exit the transport crates but settled in quickly to relaxing and hanging out in the shade. Tomorrow morning we’ll release them into the main enclosure. Get some rest, stumpers, tomorrow’s another big day!