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!
We face many challenges in life, from physical discomforts to emotional anguish to life-threatening diseases, to name just a few. We seem to spend an ever-increasing amount of time insulating ourselves from those experiences – and from the natural world we reside in. We worry ourselves sick with how to get ahead, avoid conflict or keep our egos intact. We over-medicate, under-appreciate and act as if the very environment which allows us to flourish exists for nothing more than our amusement and short-term gain. Within that context it's easy to understand how people can become isolated, distrustful and combative - and they are not alone: many animals, both wild and domestic, suffer unnaturally at our collective hands in a wide variety of ways and under many scenarios. Each day we're inundated with additional examples of our species' brutality towards other living beings and for animal (and people) lovers things can sometimes look very bleak.
Fortunately, we also have the capacity to demonstrate inspiring acts of compassion, empathy, grace, nurturing, and generosity. When I see Freeman amble across his enclosure to play with Buddy and Elvis, or watch Alice warm herself in the sun, or witness rhesus monkeys once used in research exploring their large, open enclosure for the first time, I am instantly reminded of all that's good about our species.
I know that Tamae has a better life because her guardian placed Tamae's well-being over her own emotional needs. I know that Carly no longer endures a small feces-encrusted cage because someone had the compassion and determination to rescue her from abysmal conditions. Nine female baboons didn't open the doors to their cages and hitchhike down to south Texas; they had help, and a lot of it, from people who had the courage and commitment to visualize them living their remaining years in a natural environment.
Each resident here has their own unique life story and though many still bear the scars from previous abuse they are actively engaged in a life worth living because someone cared – and continues to care – and those actions reinvigorate and encourage us when challenges seem especially difficult or even insurmountable.
Each day of the year our sanctuary staff members work hard to provide compassionate care for our charges, the employees in the Born Free USA offices work diligently to be a voice for animals everywhere and our supporters provide us with the financial means and emotional encouragement to keep the miracles happening; all of which reinforces what we should all know by now – all you need is love.
From everyone at Born Free USA here's wishing you a special day filled with examples of the best of our human qualities.
For the Primates,