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Blog Archives: 01/2018

Driving into 2018 in Style!

Becca Banks January 26, 2018

Over the last several years, our utility feed cart has broke down too many times to even count, requiring constant maintenance and repair. After years of daily use, parts started falling off, other major mechanical parts were malfunctioning, the battery kept dying if temperatures dropped below 20 degrees and it required more frequent oil changes and spark plug replacements than expected—just to name a few of its issues! 

Scott, the maintenance and grounds keeper for the sanctuary, discovered that this piece just fell off the cart one afternoon while it was trying to drive up the hill on Monkey Road.

Staff members pushed the utility cart up to the workshop—this had become such a frequent occurrence that the staff knew exactly what to do when the call came over the radio. We tried our best to keep repairing our beloved cart, but the staff really needed something that they could rely on and something that didn’t constantly require our attention and resources. The gas-powered feed cart eventually had driven its last day.

The utility feed cart is an essential tool for the sanctuary. We use it every day to help implement all of our animal care programs, such as our nutrition, enrichment and medical programs. We knew we would need to replace the old one in order to continue providing the apes and monkeys with the best of care.

Fortunately, the Kentucky Colonels extended a helping hand. The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels is a wonderful, philanthropic organization that awarded our sanctuary with a $5,200 grant. This was exactly half the amount that we needed to purchase a new feed cart. With this huge head start, we were prepared to raise the other half of the funds!

We reached out to our supporters on social media and through our newsletter asking for donations in order to purchase a new utility cart. In the meantime, we used a rolling plastic cart (on a gravel road) to transport food and supplies around the sanctuary.

Animal caregivers used the rolling cart to deliver breakfast to all of the monkeys across the property—avoiding fallen walnuts and other hazards along the way.

While the feed cart was out of commission, we struggled to get food, enrichment, medicine and other vital materials to all of the residents in an efficient manner. Fortunately, we weren’t struggling long thanks to our dedicated and passionate supporters.

The love and generosity we received from donors was overwhelming. We raised the second $5,200 in no time with their help. We are so honored and humbled by everyone who donated, and we appreciate their love and generosity for the primates!

We reached out to Alan Houp with Dever Golf Cart Sales and Rentals hoping that he would have a cart that would fit our needs. We wanted to purchase an electric cart that would be sustainable, environmentally friendly, require low maintenance and last years into the future. We knew that spending less money on repairs and upkeep would allow us to rescue and rehabilitate more deserving primates. Alan recommended the perfect model, and even offered to add our logos on the side and install accessory features at no extra cost to us!

This January, we laid eyes on the brand new utility cart for the first time! What an exciting day. Lucas, a Dever employee, delivered the cart to the sanctuary and even gave us a tutorial on how to properly drive and maintain the vehicle so that it will last us a very long time.

We couldn’t be any more grateful to The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, the folks at Dever Golf Cart Sales and Rentals, and our supporters who helped us acquire this necessary vehicle for the sanctuary. Each day, as we are delivering food, medications, enrichment and materials to the monkeys and apes, we will remember your kindness and cherish your support!

Staying warm!

Tori Himes January 15, 2018

Winter is in full effect in Kentucky! With temperatures dropping into the single digits recently, helping our residents stay warm is a high priority. Around this time of year, we commonly get questions about how all the primates stay warm. Thankfully there are a few ways.

The apes and monkeys have heated indoor areas that are sheltered from the outside elements. These spaces are heated using a propane boiler system to keep temperatures in the mid-60s and lower 70s during the winter months. Each area is outfitted with thermometers that are checked and recorded routinely throughout the day by caregivers. We also rely on an around-the-clock temperature monitoring and alarm system that notifies us if any particular area drops below our temperature threshold. This is a vital program service, and the annual cost to keep the heating and alarm systems operating is over $10,000—and even more when we have exceptionally cold winters! You can make a charitable contribution to help us afford our costly heating system this winter.

Even though the primates all have heated areas to keep them warm during the colder months, we still like to offer them other materials that keep the apes and monkeys comfortable all year long. While the chimps spend hours constructing elaborate nests, most of the monkeys will wrap themselves up in a blanket. Blankets are passed out daily and are sometimes scented with a variety of natural essential oils to stimulate or soothe the primates. We also provide them with newspaper, pine shavings, straw, and wood wool to use for bedding. The monkeys get to choose which materials they prefer to cozy up with.

When Peanut ventures outside for some fresh air, she enjoys pulling blankets over her head to shield herself from the winter chill. She will also often do this while snuggled up with her buddy Grady.

For many of us, it may be safe to say that we don’t enjoy making our beds. However, this is certainly not the case for chimpanzees. In the wild, chimpanzees harvest plants, tree limbs and other materials found in the forest to construct elaborate, cozy nests in tree canopies. We encourage the chimpanzees living at the PRC to mimic that behavior by providing the troop with a variety of materials with which to make their nests. Wrapping and packing paper, paper lawn bags, straw, cardboard boxes, burlap bags, and stuffed animals are a few of their favorite building materials. The chimps spend a lot of time throughout the day designing comfortable and warm nests to nap in during the day and sleep in at night. Victoria chimpanzee is a professional nest builder. She spends quite a bit of time carefully selecting and placing her materials, and by the time she’s done, she’s ready for bed.

Victoria is getting ready for an afternoon nap in one of her overhead tunnels.

This photo gives just a couple of examples of the apes and monkeys favorite nesting materials. If you’re interested in helping provide materials for the primates, check out our Amazon Wish List where you’ll find burlap bags, fleece blankets, and stuffed animals available for you to send directly to the apes and monkeys.

10 Reasons Monkeys Should Never Be Pets

Melanie Parker January 05, 2018

If you or a friend are thinking about purchasing any type of primate (ape, monkey, lemur, marmoset, etc.) as a pet, we hope that you will take into consideration the following reasons that primates of any kind make terrible pets and choose not to contribute to the primate pet trade.

1. Monkeys are ripped from their mother’s arms as babies (at just a few days old) to be sold to humans as pets. Not only is this extremely traumatic for the baby, but also to the mother who will be bred again and again, only to suffer the same fate for each pregnancy. 

2. Primates are expensive to purchase and care for. They have very specific diet, enrichment, and housing needs that are expensive and will take up most of your time. Many captive primates develop diabetes, which is also difficult and costly to treat, if you can even find a veterinarian who will treat a monkey.

3. As babies they are adorable and sweet, but once they hit puberty (around age 3) their demeanor will completely change. They will become unpredictable, aggressive, unmanageable, and dangerous, often biting and scratching even their most favored caregiver. No amount of training will tame a wild animal or keep them from asserting their dominance. Monkeys can live to be 20-40 years old, which is a long time to care for an aggressive, biting animal.

4. They will destroy your home and make it stink! Throwing feces and urine, “poop painting” on the walls, and urinating everywhere are typical monkey behaviors in a human home. You may think that diapers are the answer, but even if a monkey would agree to wear one, they often cause painful sores and rashes, and they restrict the tail muscles from developing normally causing physical damage to the primate. (Life at the sanctuary allows these animals the freedom to express these species-specific behaviors, without forcing them into difficult, hands-on situations. We are able to feed, clean, and enrich all primate areas without direct contact with any primate)

5. Hierarchy! Primates naturally want to be the one in charge in a group, or at least be second in command. This means that generally a primate will bond with one person who they think is in charge, and then perceive everyone else as the enemy. They will attack humans with vicious bites and scratches to maintain their status in the group. This means ultimately you will be left alone with your monkey, cut off from normal social interactions with your family and friends, and unable to enjoy time away from your home or to take family vacations.

6. Monkeys can carry parasites and zoonotic diseases that are dangerous to humans. They may seem to be in perfect health, but when they inevitably bite or scratch you, you may end up with a variety of health issues passed to you from your monkey that were dormant in the monkey’s system.

7. Primates are social animals who need to be around their own kind in order to develop normally, both psychologically and emotionally. Humans are no substitute for a real monkey mom’s care. No matter how hard you try to give them a good life, you will still cause psychological damage to your beloved monkey. Period.

8. Primate ownership is illegal in many states. You may be able to buy a monkey in one state then try to bring it into your state only to find that you have violated a state regulation and must forfeit your monkey and pay a hefty fine. Check your state’s regulations on exotic pet ownership.

9. Purchasing a monkey fuels the exotic pet trade. It encourages primate breeders to continue the vicious cycle, and poachers to continue to kill adult primates so they can take their babies to sell. Don’t contribute to this sad, abusive supply and demand trend.

10. You may think a sanctuary is your fallback plan if your monkey gets aggressive, however space is extremely limited and there is not always room or funds available for your primate to be taken in. Many primate pets end up living in a small cage with no way to safely clean or enrich them because pet owners are unable to secure sanctuary placement for their pets and they are afraid of being injured.

If you have any further questions, or need clarification on any of the reasons you should never get a pet monkey, please call the Primate Rescue Center at (859) 858-4866, or visit our website to learn more about the plight of primates in captivity. If you don’t want to take our word for it, watch this In Their Own Words video to listen to former owners talk about their regrets in bringing a monkey into their home.

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