Bloomberg.com - The approach to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas, has an ominous look - lonely dirt road, padlocked gate, a sign warning “Not Open to the Public.”
Inside the fence, however, the place is full of life, with dozens of macaque monkeys roaming the grounds.
The 186-acre sanctuary is the last home for macaques, baboons and vervets, many saved from miserable existences in roadside zoos, as lab experiments or, perhaps worst, as pets.
“There’s something inherently wrong with these animals living their lives in little cages,” says the sanctuary director, Tim Ajax.
Most of the more than 500 nonhuman primates here have the run of a 56-acre area, while the rest stay in fairly spacious enclosures.
“We’re at capacity right now,” Ajax says, but he’s preparing for more newcomers.
Last August, Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, 75 miles to the north, closed its doors “due to overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing for the animals,” according to its website. As a result, 112 macaques and one baboon will soon be moving to the Born Free facility.
The new macaques had hard lives before San Antonio. A rhesus female had been a pet in a tiny cage in a New York City basement, her tail amputated to accommodate diapers. A Javan male was a research subject in a New Jersey lab. A male stump-tail, another former lab inmate, is missing some fingers.
Read more: http://bloom.bg/yajbCi
Written by Mike Di Paola
Image by Mary Reininger/Wild Animal Orphanage