Washington, D.C., December 4, 2012 – The happy ending of a two year saga for 107 macaques and one baboon is finally here. In September, the last group of primates was successfully transported from their former home at the now-closed Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, Texas to their new home at the 186 acre Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley Texas. Now, as the year comes to an end, Born Free USA reports that the animals are finally all adjusting and settling into their spacious digs – the place they will call home for the rest of their lives.
According to Tim Ajax, Director of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, "It has been two months since the last group in the transfer arrived, and everyone has settled into their routine. Now cared for in large, open air enclosures the monkeys have made good use of the natural habitat and spend a good portion of each day climbing trees, exploring the ground for insects and tasty new plant shoots, and simply swaying with the treetops in the breeze. Some of these are behaviors they have never had a chance to engage in prior to coming here.”
Ajax adds, “Our new 42 stump-tailed macaque residents have all suffered for years from an allergy condition that caused hair loss and itching and we can see now that it was likely something in the environment at their previous residence since their coats are filling in nicely and there is a healthy sheen to them that was absent before. To see the social, psychological and physical health of these animals turn around, is truly amazing and uplifting.”
Among the 107 animals who arrived, are three babies. All are all doing wonderfully, reports Ajax. “The babies now have room to escape mom's protective clutches to do some safe roaming and appease their innate drive to explore, which is common to all species of primates.”
One of the groups of macaques with a baby is the rhesus group comprised of four males and eight females, including the infant named Reagan. Since they are a cohesive group and very protective of Reagan Ajax and his staff decided to try Chongo, a two year old ex-pet male rhesus, with them to see if he could start learning some monkey social skills, which unfortunately he had never had the chance to learn before. “We set him up in his own area and despite being very human-centered due to having been someone’s ‘pet,’ Chongo is now slowly making progress under the guidance from the adult monkeys. Several females visit him and quietly sit near him to provide reassurance. Transitioning from a confused ‘pet’ to a well-adjusted monkey can be a challenge but the experienced rhesus group is making it much easier for him.”
Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, says, “Challenges remain and we need ongoing financial support to provide the very best for them – and the over 500 other residents at the sanctuary -- for the next 20 years. We are thrilled with how readily the residents from the massive move have adapted to their new natural habitat and larger space. It has been an incredible rescue."
It all started on August 31, 2010, when Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) announced the decision to dissolve its sanctuary “due to overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing for the animals.” According to the WAO board, they were in a “do or die situation” and they had to find placement for over 100 macaques, 55 tigers, 14 African lions, 16 chimpanzees, six wolf hybrids, and 20 baboons. Sanctuaries were found for all of these animals, in part through the leadership of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), of which Born Free USA is a member.
In 2011, Born Free USA worked for months with WAO and the Texas Attorney General to find a way to help these animals. If Born Free USA did not step in, the large group of primates would likely have been euthanized. Since finalizing the details in November 2011, the sanctuary spent eight months building proper facilities and preparing for its new residents.
The move presented many challenges. In addition to the number of macaques involved, there were other highly complicated issues including: their sensitive social groupings -- 12 different animal groupings with troops as small as three and as large as 28; the age range -- from under one year old to some in their 30s; many physical health conditions from cataracts to skin and age-related bone issues; and a multitude of mental health issues many still suffer from as a result of their captivity prior to their life at WAO.
Roberts adds “Every day wild animals need to be rescued from ‘pet owners,’ laboratories, roadside zoos, and other abusive circumstances, but this time it is about a large sanctuary having to shut down completely -- a place where these animals were already once saved. Wild animals belong in the wild and these scenarios should never exist at all. Sanctuaries are filled to capacity, costly to run, and are the only aid we can give these animals.”
To learn more about the sanctuary, make a donation, or “adopt a primate” this holiday season visit www.bornfreeusa.org/sanctuary.
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.
Fairfield County, Ct
Owner Commits Suicide, Leaves Two Cats Behind Who Need Rescue
A few days ago a woman committed suicide in Fairfield County,
Connecticut. She left behind her two cats; Marmalade, a one year
old orange and white Maine Coon mix and Shadow, a stunning,
silver tabby long haired cat who is declawed, front paws and
is about 10 years old. She lived alone and the only human family
who remains is her brother who does not like cats and wants
They have lost their home and lost their mama.
Marmalade is sweet as ever, but Shadow is acting out,
angry, even lashing out at his friend, Marmalade.
The local rescue community, including myself,
are trying to get the word out on these two cats to find
them homes or rescues to take them.
I have very little information since this is breaking
news. If you're in CONNECTICUT, MASSACHUSETTS,
NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, RHODE ISLAND with a
Non-Profit cat rescue or are interested in adopting
either of these cats, contact me directly at
with the right people. We need to act ASAP.
Neglected dog in shocking condition
RIVERVIEW - Hillsborough County Animal Services is taking care of a severely neglected dog discovered Tuesday in a Riverview yard with no food or water.
Officers found the dog after receiving an anonymous call and immediately removed it from the home. They are now working to track down the people who live there.
The dog is a 6 to 8-month old female hound. Her caretakers have nicknamed her "Ne Ne." She is extremely malnourished, her eyes are swollen shut, and her skin is red and inflamed all over.
She is, however, doing remarkably well after only 24 hours of care.
Right now, authorities are looking for the owner or owners of the Riverview home where Ne Ne was found. They were taking care of their house but not their pet.
There is barely any hair left on Ne Ne's frail body.
"We're calling her 'Ne Ne,' after the animal control officer that brought her in, Renee," said Dr. Lisa Centonze, who is treating the dog.
There is barely any hair left on Ne Ne's frail body.
"Her feet are swollen, her ears are infected, her skin is infected, she's definitely suffering," Centonze said.
The dog's skin is such a mess they can't tell exactly what breed she is.
"C'mon out, you want to come out?," Centonze said, trying to coax Ne Ne out of her cage. "You want to come out? C'mon NeNe girl!"
It took some coaxing with dog food to get her to leave the safety of her cage.
"Good girl! Oh yeah!," she said, as Ne Ne stuck her head in a bowl and started eating enthusiastically. She has a ravenous appetite.
"With emaciated and malnourished dogs, you don't want to feed them too much too quickly," Centonze explained. "So we've been feeding her small, frequent meals and so far, she's kept everything down."
"Good girl!," she said as Ne Ne chomped-down a half a bowl of dog food.
Centonze said they got an anonymous tip and rescued Ne Ne from her Riverview home.
"It's horrible," she said. "It's absolutely inexcusable that this can happen to a dog, when it's so easy to prevent."
Ne Ne is tough to look at.
"Her body condition is emaciated," said Centonze. "You can see all of her ribs, the points of her hip, her vertebrae."
Ne Ne suffers from an extreme mange, which is an infection of the hair follicles.
"It's not contagious to other dogs, it's not contagious to people," she said. "It's very treatable and that's the really sad thing, about her condition is that, this could have been prevented if it had been treated early on."
In the meantime, Ne Ne is very itchy.
"The mites cause the itchiness, which causes her to scratch," she said. "She obviously was not fed enough for a long period of time, I would say weeks to months."
"Was this dog left to die?," we asked.
"I believe so," Centonze said.
She added that Ne Ne is timid, but very friendly.
"She's shown absolutely no aggression. But you can see that she shivers a little bit -- part of that is probably from fear, part of that is probably because she has no body fat."
"You're a good girl," she said to the shivering dog. "We're gonna get you better, we're gonna get you better."
No arrests have been made yet, but Ne Ne's owners are facing felony animal cruelty charges.
Animal control officers urge people who end up unable to care for a pet to bring them to the shelter before things get out of hand.
As soon as Ne Ne is well enough, they hope to find a loving home for her.
After seeing Ne Ne, many of our thoughts go straight to another big animal abuse case, which fortunately has a very happy ending. When we first met Casper, he looked a lot like Ne Ne, nothing but skin and bones. The boxer was found three years ago in Carrollwood, chained up and starving.
Today, he's with a new adoptive family and is thriving, and the man accused of abusing Casper was given an unprecedented sentence last month : 15 months behind bars.