The Lucky Nine
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!
In our last rescue update, I shared the story of the "lucky nine" baboons who had just arrived at the Sanctuary in September. These nine females—Pearl, Missy, Chloe, April, Friendly, Spicey, Brooke, Kennedy, and Lulu, ages 13-23—were recently retired from a New York laboratory research program. Until their move to the Sanctuary, the baboons had spent nearly their entire lives in separate cages, and hadn't experienced the outdoors.
These girls have progressed nicely in their first month at the Sanctuary, and they continue to settle in at their new home. We've had some minor disagreements occur between some of the ladies, so we've changed a couple of the groupings for better cohesiveness. Since most of these baboons were never group-housed in the laboratory, we have to watch carefully and make adjustments depending upon their preferences. Our adoptable girl, Friendly, prefers being with Missy, so they are now together and getting along well so far. We'll continue to monitor the baboons' personalities, tendencies, and ranks within the social structure to plan their best possible care.
When the baboons arrived at the Sanctuary, we knew that it would take a bit of time for them to gain muscle tone after spending so many years in cages. All of the girls are slowly strengthening previously unused muscles and moving around a little easier each day. They still spend much of their time lounging and just laying around, enjoying the additional space and company.
Soon, the baboons will explore the rest of their enclosure: ½ acre of native Texas grass and trees, where they can lounge on the deck at the water tank or hang out on one of the many shelters (or in a tree!). The male baboons across the way have been keeping a close eye on the new girls, and it's possible that we might be able to integrate them in the not too distant future.
I'm pleased that our devoted team of caretakers has nurtured these girls so lovingly. Pearl, Missy, Chloe, April, Friendly, Spicey, Brooke, Kennedy, and Lulu are easing into their new lives, which are now filled with fresh air, sunshine, a healthy diet, the company of other baboons, and the endless compassion of our staff. Please consider making a donation to help fund the ongoing care for these beautiful baboons.