The challenges ahead for these animals lie in attempting to reduce the effects of being singly housed for most of their lives. Primates are highly social beings and suffer when denied direct social interaction and appropriate environments to explore.
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Dilley, Texas (Vocus) July 16, 2010
Following the closing of an east coast pharmaceutical laboratory, 15 Long-tailed Macaques are getting a second chance at life. They arrive this weekend at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary near Dilley, Texas, the only sanctuary in the U.S. that enables rescued primates to live freely in large multiple-acre native enclosures, with minimal human interference, far removed from exploitation. The Sanctuary is currently home to more than 500 primates, many of whom were rescued from roadside zoos, research facilities, and private possession.
The Long-tailed Macaques are all males, under six years old, and weigh between 9 and 15 pounds. Upon arrival this weekend, they will be housed in temporary cages where they can be evaluated and ultimately rehabilitated by a team led by Sanctuary Director Tim Ajax.
According to Ajax, ''The challenges ahead for these animals lie in attempting to reduce the effects of being singly housed for most of their lives. Primates are highly social beings and suffer significantly when denied direct social interaction and appropriate environments to explore. They may develop self-destructive behavior such as apathy, excessive aggression, self-mutilation and other disturbing acts in an attempt to alleviate stress. Unfortunately, they often show a reduced capacity for communicating appropriately with others of their own kind. These are all reasons why we must take care to evaluate their behaviors and compatibility.''
Ajax explains that their rehabilitation will focus on:
- Creating social opportunities and observing preferences in an attempt to form one or more cohesive groups
- Gradual introduction to a more fruit-based natural diet
- Gradual adaptation to the south Texas environment since they have lived their lives in climate controlled rooms.
- Introduction to the sanctuary’s existing Long-tailed Macaques now living in a lush, five-acre enclosure on the property.
When it is determined that the animals are ready to cohabit, they will move to a soon to be constructed “introductory” enclosure where they will touch grass and dirt for the very first time. After that, the hope is that they can be released into the existing five-acre enclosure with the other Long-tailed monkeys.
Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, explains that “The residents of our U.S. sanctuary are very fortunate now to have an opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in a natural environment where we can be sure that no one will ever hurt them again. But the bigger global tragedy is that wild animals are exploited in the first place and that such sanctuaries need to exist at all. Wildlife must be kept in the wild. Not in labs, not in people’s homes, not in zoos.”
The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary mission is to provide nonhuman primates as high a quality of life as possible, with as little human interference as possible. The 186-acre facility, located an hour and a half outside of San Antonio, Texas, is home to over 500 individuals, and recognizes the importance of social companionship, group living, space, and an enriching environment to meet as best as possible, the physiological, social, behavioral, and psychological needs of its residents. In order to allow the residents the maximum amount of privacy and minimal human interference, the Sanctuary is not open to the public.
Caring people can support the sanctuary by “adopting” one of its residents or making a donation to The Sanctuary Rescue Fund. More at bornfreeusa. Follow the Sanctuary on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSAPrimateSanctuary .
Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig, 203/270-8929, Rodicompany(at)earthlink(dot)net