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!
Last week, I told you about how school children in New Braunfels, Texas learned about primates and then dove in to help by decorating pumpkins for our Sanctuary residents. After the paint dried and our pumpkins were looking beautiful, they were transported to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in south Texas.
The primates grew excited, even as the pumpkins were being unloaded. Staff members heard many enthusiastic monkey calls and saw plenty of interested looks as they moved the pumpkins to the feed room to cut openings in them for the monkeys.
The first primates to receive a beautifully painted pumpkin were snow monkeys Frankie and Logan. With some staff encouragement (and the help of a few peanuts), these two boys grew bold enough to take a close look at their treat. After removing the top of the pumpkin and peering inside, they decided that they preferred the peanuts to the pumpkin seeds. (There's often no accounting for monkey tastes, but to each his own!) Not to be discouraged, we moved on and introduced pumpkins to residents in the Northwest enclosure.
At first, they were wary of the brightly painted gourds, but as soon as staff members left the enclosure, the active monkeys went bananas for the tasty pumpkin seeds, digging out large handfuls of stringy pumpkin innards and then expertly picking out the seeds.
Elvis and Buddy, one year old olive baboons, also enjoyed a painted pumpkin. These two rambunctious young males were so excited to play with their new orange toy that they didn't realize there was more fun inside of it. After tugging, pushing, tumbling, and jumping on the pumpkin, they noticed something was loose and yanked off the top. They were soon lip-smacking and grunting with satisfaction, young furry hands covered in orange as they, too, enjoyed their special treat.
Thank you to everyone who helped make Pumpkins for Primates possible. The monkeys enjoyed a special Halloween surprise and we loved seeing them excited and engaged.