March 19, 2018
Get to know the people who provide direction and guidance to Primarily Primates with our new blog series where we introduce you to a few of our board members! First up, Raymond Vagell, a primatologist and researcher who first heard of Primarily Primates in 2010!
How did you first hear about Primarily Primates and what made you want to get involved?
I heard about Primarily Primates in 2010 from Twitter when a group of rescued lab macaques needed names and sponsors. I became a sponsor and that was how Kera got his name. Kera in Malay means macaque by the way. Since then, I have been supporting Primarily Primates because of the great work that the organization does as well as my passion for giving these primates a better life after all they had done for us.
Besides serving on the Primarily Primates Board, what other work do you do?
I am a primatologist and a researcher. Currently, I am doing color vision research with ruffed lemurs at Duke Lemur Center. My research involves training ruffed lemurs to use touchscreen so that the lemurs can show us whether they can see red or not. My research, as well as all the research at Duke Lemur Center are not invasive. We use positive reinforcement and food reward to train the lemurs.
Has the sanctuary changed since you have been involved, and if so, how?
Yes! I am so happy that some of the primates have access to “green spaces,” as well as some new construction for their enclosures.
Is there a particular unique contribution that you feel that you can provide to the sanctuary by being a board member?
As a primatologist with a background in animal training and cognition, I would love to help the sanctuary with husbandry training, as well as coming up with fun and enriching activities for the primates.
What would you tell someone who is not familiar with Primarily Primates? Secondarily, what would you describe is the most important aspect of the sanctuary?
Primarily Primates is a sanctuary that takes in primarily, primates (haha), from biomedical research, ex-entertainment animals, as well as former pets. The sanctuary also takes in birds and farm animals. Primarily Primates provides these animals a place to retire.