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!
From Animal Issues, Volume 35 Number 3, Fall 2004
Life is always changing at the API Primate Sanctuary. In the last few Animal Issues, we’ve shared with you reports about new developments at the Sanctuary, as well as information about our rehabilitation process and facility improvement projects (more construction is underway!). Now we’d like to take a moment to update readers about the very latest Sanctuary news.
The API Primate Sanctuary is home to 23 baboons, the majority of whom live together in a 5-acre natural enclosure that provides them with companionship, stimulation, enrichment, and relative freedom, which many have been deprived of for most of their lives. (Two baboons with very special needs live together in their own enclosure.)
The baboons living at the Sanctuary come from a variety of backgrounds: Some were once used in research, and were caged alone for years; others came to us from zoos or are former "pets" raised unnaturally in human households; still others were kept as "exhibits" or for "entertainment."
This past June, we were thrilled to be able to release into the primary five-acre enclosure several baboons who had not previously been integrated into the main group. Prior to their move, the baboons scheduled to be released into the main enclosure took turns spending time in "introduction" areas, which allowed them to get to know each other, as well as residents of the already free-ranging group. This gradual acclimation is a critical part of the rehabilitation process; it allowed friendships to develop so that when the day of the releases arrived, all of the baboons were familiar with one another.
As in all introductions of animals of this type, we anticipated that there might be fights, and possibly even injuries, as the new baboons began interacting with the established group. We were probably even more anxious than the baboons as we opened the doors and started allowing the released individuals into the enclosure. One by one, the baboons took off into the clearings and brush, free at last! We were pleased to see that the release resulted in only a few minor squabbles. In fact, two of the new females immediately paired up with two of the established males, having gotten to know each other during the introduction period. They continue to be inseparable to this day.
As the days following the release passed, it was heartening to see these magnificent and proud animals roaming the enclosure, climbing trees and specially-built platforms, and just being baboons, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
The baboons aren’t the only ones enjoying spacious new quarters; some of the Sanctuary’s vervets are enjoying their new digs, as well.
In the Summer 2004 edition of Animal Issues, we reported on the release of a group of vervets into our new natural enclosure, as well as the construction of a second enclosure for the remaining vervets. The second enclosure has since been completed and the remaining group of vervets was released into this and is doing very well. It was wonderful to see them romping about the enclosure, climbing and exploring their new habitat.
The Sanctuary is an integral part of API’s mission to better the lives of animals. Won’t you help us ensure that these animals, who have endured so much, live out the remainder of their days in comfort and peace?
All this new construction is critical — and costly! By making a donation to API, you can help secure a bright future for all the residents who call our Sanctuary "home." We can’t do this important work without you!