Tim Ajax

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!

WAO Monkey Rescue Enters its Final Stage (UPDATED)

Published: 09/26/12

Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary Director Tim Ajax continues to post on Facebook as the Wild Animal Orphanage rescue enters its final days.

Wednesday, Sept. 26: It’s almost hard to believe but the very last of the primates from the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio arrived here late this afternoon. Kaleb, a hamadryas baboon, and 17 long-tails made the final trip down and were introduced to their new homes under bright blue south Texas skies.

After all these months of hard work involving so many compassionate, dedicated people, it feels a little anti-climactic for this huge rescue to be concluded.

Thanks to Mary and Michelle Reininger, Dr. Valerie Kirk, Dr. Elizabeth Pannill, our supporters — and of course our great staff and interns here at the sanctuary. One hundred seven monkeys and Kaleb the baboon have a new lease on life and an opportunity to live their lives as free as possible and safe from future exploitation.

Also, huge thanks to the great crew at Texas Purple Sage Services who worked so long and hard to build the great enclosures these monkeys now call home!

Frick and Frack, two older male long-tailed macaques who are fast buddies, were the last two primates to be unloaded. Frick immediately ventured out into the large enclosure while Frack hung back, suspicious of the new and open environment. Frick is pictured exploring new sights, sounds and textures for the first time.

Here’s hoping everyone gets a well-deserved good night’s sleep tonight!

Wednesday, Sept. 26: We released the rhesus macaques into their main enclosure this morning and they were quick to explore everything. We were a little anxious for a baby who was conceived before the males were sterilized and who had been temporarily abandoned by her natural mother. WAO caretakers Mary and Michelle Reininger worked hard to care for her and were successful at integrating the baby back into the troop. Our concern was that she might get separated or abandoned again due to the stress of the move, but we needn't have worried as males and females alike took turns scooping her up and making sure she was safe.

Tuesday, Sept. 25: Another long but rewarding day as we welcomed 19 rhesus macaques from WAO. Looks like they'll setttle in nicely but definitely not as laid-back as the stump-tails. The picture here is of Finnegan, a 31-year-old male rhesus who still likes to think he's boss. He casually strolled around the new enclosure and then climbed right up a mesquite tree like he had been doing it every day for years. Welcome home, rhesus monkeys!!!

Monday, Sept. 24: What a day! The remaining stump-tails (23 of them!) arrived in good shape late this afternoon and seemed excited (and definitely hungry) when they were let out into their temporary quarters. The staff and veterinarians assisting at WAO worked hard and had a long day but did a great job making sure all of the monkeys were well cared for and safe. Tomorrow the stumpers will be let out into their main enclosure and the rhesus macaques will be joining us. Wednesday it's the remaining long-tails and Kaleb, the baboon. We're almost there!

Sunday, Sept. 23: Everyone here at the sanctuary has been working overtime to make sure everything is ready for the next wave of monkey arrivals from WAO. Here's a time lapse video [find it on the sanctuary's Facebook page] of a "spider" (primate play structure) in the making. It may look easy but it's actually a lot of hard work — and totally worth it for the monkeys!

Thursday, Sept. 20: Staff member Raychel Steines puts nail to wood as we hurry to finish up the climbing structures in time for the final groups of WAO monkeys who will be arriving this coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. By next Thursday all 107 monkeys and the lone baboon will be in their new homes, ready to start a great new chapter in their lives!

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