We are sad to announce that Karibu, one of our most beloved residents at Primarily Primates, has passed away. Karibu, an olive baboon, was diagnosed with an aggressive and untreatable form of lymphoma just two months. He was 27 years old.

Karibu was born in a baboon breeding facility, and spent his entire life as a research subject, prior to being rescued by Primarily Primates in 2008. At the time of his release, he was at a laboratory in Virginia. His veterinarian, because she had grown fond of Karibu, arranged for his placement at Primarily Primates. 

When Karibu arrived at Primarily Primates, he experienced a sense of freedom for the first time in his life. It was the first time he touched grass, got to climb and forage. It was the first time in his life he got to breathe fresh air.

Karibu was shy and reserved, but was fond of those who took care of him at Primarily Primates, and he loved to climb high and look out over the sanctuary. Two years ago, we rescued two more baboons, Olive and Saffron, who were to become, instantly, his best friends. They enjoyed grooming one another, and Saffron often groomed Karibu so much he looked disheveled…and Karibu loved every minute of it.

Two weeks ago, when we knew Karibu likely didn’t have much time left, the staff at Primarily Primates threw a party for him. They made him a bamboo throne on his favorite perch (allowing him to forage without having to climb or move), and served him two of his favorite treats — pulpy strawberry lemonade and Cheerios. Karibu was in heaven.

Thanks to all of you who support our work at Primarily Primates, so we can provide dignity and joy for all the animals in our care. Karibu, we’ll miss that gorgeous face and sweet disposition (Olive and Saffron will, too). We’re so grateful for having known you.