April 19, 2018
By Libby Smidl
Primarily Primates provides lifetime care and a safe haven for 350 rescued animals. As our name suggests, the majority of the animals under our care are nonhuman primates—there are 36 chimpanzees, 4 gibbons, and 181 monkeys, ranging in size from our half-pound marmoset and tamarins to our 150-pound chimpanzees. But who makes up the remaining 65 animals whom reside at our sanctuary?
Before we get to that, you might be surprised to learn that primates can be broken into two suborders: anthropoids and prosimians. Monkeys, apes and humans are anthropoids. Lemurs are prosimians.
Primarily Primates cares for 41 lemurs, including ring tailed, white-headed and brown lemurs. The majority of our lemurs have been rescued from the exotic pet trade. Along with other primates, lemurs do not make good pets. As they reach sexual maturity, they tend to become aggressive. Lemurs share strong family bonds and rely heavily on social interaction from their own kind.
Primarily Primates is also home to 61 birds, not including our free roaming avian. There are several different species of birds that reside in our aviary, ranging from our 80-pound emus, to our several small, delicate doves. Although our “small bird aviary” is home to several small birds, it is also home to our 5 ½ foot tall Sarus crane! She resides alongside our ibis, conures, and rooster, Sir Phillip. Our “parrot house” is inhabited by amazons and macaws. We also have three male peacocks that roam freely around the sanctuary, along with our dozens of free roaming Egyptian geese, and various species of ducks.
Our aviary is also home to one mammal, Rocky our Patagonian mara. Also known as cavies, they are relatives of the guinea pigs. Cavies are the fourth largest rodent in the world and are native to South America. Cavies have stocky bodies and their long, hind legs resemble rabbits. Rocky came to Primarily Primates after exploitation as a breeder for the exotic pet trade. A woman believed that cavies would be the next popular pet in Europe and started a breeding operation in her own backyard. Luckily, Rocky was able to spend the rest of his days at the sanctuary rather than being in the exotic pet trade.
Speaking of non-primate mammals, Riya, an African Serval also calls Primarily Primates her home. Riya was an ex-pet before arriving at the sanctuary. In her past owner’s attempts to make Riya a more “family friendly pet,” she was declawed. Riya now lives in a spacious, grassy habitat where she can stalk passing woodland animals when she isn’t catnapping in her den.
Last but not least, our final non-primate residents are animals who are more commonly found in Texas. Primarily Primates is home to two cows, George and Max, and three wild horses, Bindi, Comanche, and Moxie. Prior to her arrival at Primarily Primates, Moxie survived a violent and inhumane helicopter roundup of 167 wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area in Colorado. Our cows and horses are able to roam large pastures and graze as much as they want.
Although we are, indeed, “Primarily Primates,” our sanctuary would not be complete without our other species. All of our rescued animals can be sponsored through our website.