First, a huge thanks to all of you who supported us during the most difficult time in our nearly 30-year history. We have weathered this time, we have been supported by the best advocates in the advocacy movement, and I can state with complete confidence that our future looks very good indeed.
From October 2006 through April 2007, a probate judge placed the sanctuary under control of a receiver. The state attorney general can step in if a charity is charged with financial mismanagement (that’s its area of oversight), and in our case, that happened after another group argued that Primarily Primates shouldn’t care for chimpanzees who came to us in 2006 from Ohio State University. A court-ordered report said the Ohio chimpanzees appeared in good health and safe conditions at our sanctuary, but raised concerns about long-term staffing and psychological stimulation.
Logically, what was needed was keeping the primates here, while fortifying our capacity to ensure their long-term care and psychological stimulation. Yet during the receivership, these chimpanzees were moved out of the sanctuary and construction for their future enclosures was interrupted, and a propaganda campaign was waged against the refuge by people who supported the receiver -- ironically, the very person who had been entrusted to preserve the sanctuary and its future.
Primarily Primates has been fully cleared of the financial charges lodged against it; in fact, no monies were ever determined to have been misspent. A settlement between the state and our sanctuary decided that it would be in the best interest of the animals, the refuge, and the people of Texas if control were returned to the refuge under a restructured board.
And so it was. We and the Connecticut-based animals rights group Friends of Animals (FoA) have announced we’re merging. This change will give Primarily Primates a broader financial base and stronger business structure, and ensure that long-term staffing and psychological stimulation for our nonhuman residents are completely taken care of.
Primarily Primates opposes the exploitation of animals. Until people stop using other animals, there will be a need for sanctuary. Next year, Primarily Primates will mark its 30th anniversary as a refuge. We thank Friends of Animals and we thank you, our steadfast supporters, for ensuring that our residents have a future to look forward to.
Updates: Life at the Sanctuary
For years, Primarily Primates existed as a ten-acre sanctuary. There was no other like it in North America, and certainly no other as strained to help animals in desperate need.
In 2001, the sanctuary expanded with the purchase of a 67 acre ranch. Some of the first animals to benefit from the new space included horses, cows, and a little goat.
The horses had lived at the sanctuary for years. A couple were born here, after their pregnant mothers were rescued. It is sad not to see Nasara the mare lead her herd around the huge coastal fields where they used to play and run. Even the nearly blind Sid-Icarus followed her and they waited for him when he fell behind. Nasara and the other free-ranging horses were moved during the six-month receivership. Our search for them continues and we hope to be reunited with them.
The loss of Wilhelmina the goat and Luke, a longhorn steer, during the receivership has had profound effects on the remaining group. It's a terrible feeling to know the whole story about an animal and realize that animals are hurting in ways that you and I may. Luke was once a part of a long cattle drive. Many cows didn't make the whole trail, but Luke did.
The ranch owner who received Luke had a Watusi (also named with that beautiful word, Watusi). As it happens, the ranch owners were trying to get out of the cattle industry due to family health issues, and they wanted to find a good home for Watusi. They had a soft spot for Watusi, and they saw that Watusi had a soft spot for Luke.
Before long, Watusi and Luke were wandering our 67- acre ranch. A while later, another longhorn arrived, who befriended Wilhelmina and enjoyed the pasture for life. Later on a female Angus cow named Daisy joined the family.
Daisy spends her day with her son George Strait, Jr. Watusi often wanders the ranch by himself. It seems he is still searching for Luke the longhorn and Wilhelmina the goat. One day, we hope to recover them, and then I will remember to take a picture for you.
Little Night Monkeys Return
They came back to us less than two weeks after our care staff returned this May. Ricky and Lucy, two African bush babies, were once owned illegally, and confiscated by a local humane society. They first arrived at our refuge about three years ago.
Of the animals who were recently removed from us, Ricky and Lucy are the first to be recovered. Busch Gardens, which displays animals, agreed immediately to return Ricky and Lucy, and we are glad of that. One of our vows as a refuge is to ensure that animals are not on public display.
Lucy and Ricky now have a renovated enclosure with an indoor, heated bedroom, a long outdoor run, ropes and cedar branches for them to climb on, and soft canopy beds. The bush babies, formally called galagos, meaning "little night monkeys," have an open roof so they can sit or play under the stars like they would have if they lived in the wild. We now have plans for a wonderful Nocturnal House. Consider investing in our blueprint!
Sensitive Marmosets and Tamarins Regain Peace, Quiet, and a Better Diet
The marmosets and tamarins at the sanctuary seemed among the most affected the past few months. Many had lost weight and their coats were unkempt and oily.
Returning to their original diet and sanitation was a foremost priority. Today, the tamarins and marmosets are doing well. Even the little cotton-top tamarin Popcorn is in a large holding enclosure and doing so much better. Another South American marmoset may soon need a home too. We were called to help and we hope to soon be in the position to do so; we will keep you updated.
Plans Move Forward for Chimpanzees Formerly Living in a Lab at Ohio State University
Construction projects, left untouched for six months, are now back in full swing, including a chimpanzee enclosure for seven apes from Ohio. Eight indoor bedroom shelters will connect by a tunnel system to two very large outdoor areas, providing this group with a grassy, natural environment.
The new enclosures look great. Finally, after several long months, we are beginning to get back on track, providing permanent refuge for the seven OSU apes.
Our littlest chimpanzee Grace, child of Hope, is doing just fine. She is bright-eyed and always curious. She clings to her mother, riding low on her back. Hope is extremely protective and doesn't like cameras around her and her baby. She races to the top of the enclosure and turns away from you so you can hardly see the little ape that clings to her mother's every move.
Grace has a very lovely little face with deep-set, brown eyes. With such a loving and caring mother, she will grow up to be as healthy and normal as a captive chimpanzee can be. We’d really like to introduce Hope, Grace, and Amy to Oliver. He needs a friend, and they might fill that need while enjoying a new enclosure, soon to be renovated to meet the needs of an older ape and also provide a safe environment for a young playful chimpanzee. Let’s hope this idea turns out well for the whole group.
Good News for the Patagonian Cavies
A colony of Patagonian cavies live in a very large, natural pen here. Some people make pets out of cavies -- a terrible idea -- and our original rescued cavies were from a USDA confiscation case in which a Texas animal dealer was shut down. The dealer’s compound held numerous starving and dying animals. To help, we had to accept them with little time to plan for them, and that was a problem because they began doing what comes naturally and we suddenly had a lot more cavies. Today, these large hare-like animals continue to enjoy their outdoor home under the cedar and oak trees; but best of all, thanks to a local veterinarian, a successful non-breeding plan was finally implemented.
Bobbie the Cat
Bobbie, our bobcat, was spayed and declawed when she was found starved and roaming the streets of a nearby town. Following her trip to a local veterinarian, she was in desperate need of a home. Thanks to special gifts, a natural enclosure was built for her and two other bobcats who also needed a home. Today, these three cats can be seen resting in the trees and knowing they’re in a protected environment.