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It’s my favorite time of year...Tucked away between Halloween and Christmas, sits a holiday that department stores everywhere seem to have forgotten about. You don’t have to buy anything for anyone, and you aren’t expecting anything in return (I think that’s why it’s my favorite holiday). I’m talking about Thanksgiving! A holiday where you are meant to sit back, take a long lookaround you, and be grateful for everything good in your life.
I am extremely grateful to be able to count my job asone of those things. I am thankful that each of the animals here will be well taken care of for the rest of theirlives, and that I get to be a part of that. Some of them came from some rough situations. When I think about thelives some of our residents had before coming here, it is heartbreaking, and quite frankly, infuriating. But, I am thankful that they are now in a place where they will truly receive the best care possible for the rest of their lives. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to do what I do everyday, and I know the other care staff members feel exactly the same. It is a privilege to serve these animals everyday, and that is definitely not lost on us. This job can be hard (and messy), but it is so gratifying.
Of course, as thankful as I am to have this job, I wish it didn’t even exist. I wish that there were not a need for facilities like ours. In a prefect world, our residents would all be in the wild where they belong. Since that is not the case, I will choose to be thankful for what we have, and continue to work to improve the lives of every monkey and chimpanzee in our care.
I also want to say thank you to our donors. Without you, none of this would be possible. I would be out of a job, and I don’t even want to think about where our residents would be. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you do for the Primate Rescue Center. Whether it’s monetary donations, donating supplies, or donating your time every week, we are forever grateful. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, and in the midst of turkey eating and black Friday shopping, don’t forget to take a minute to sit back and think about all that you are thankful for. :)
Recently, our chimpanzee "playroom" received an extreme makeover! New windows were installed, ceiling tiles were replaced, and an amazing mural was painted by two talented volunteers. Veteran Volunteer Retta Ritchie-Holbrook and her friend Shannon Johnson took a vision we had and made it more amazing than we could have ever imagined. We would also like to thank Sherwin-Williams in Nicholasville for their generosity and support of this project.
You can visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PrimateRescue to see video of the chimp's reaction to their new mural.
Retta Ritchie-Holbrook (left) and Shannon Johnson (right) next to the 3D tree in the chimp's playroom.
It’s simple: Peafowl, commonly known as Peacocks (male) and Peahens (female) play an essential role at the PRC. We currently have about 12 peafowl on the PRC grounds. They help us with our general clean up around the monkey enclosures by eating the discarded food items that the monkeys drop to the ground. This keeps the carestaff from having to worry about other little critters, like rodents, populating the grounds in search for the leftover food. Most of our monkey enclosures sit up off the ground so, when food falls through, the peacocks are right here to clean up the mess. Our peafowl are very popular during our annual member event as well where they display their beautiful feathers. Who wouldn't want to have them around?
Monkeys and bananas, they go together like…well, monkeys and bananas! While most of our monkeys and chimps do like bananas, their diets consist of much, much more.
Our residents eat A LOT of food everyday, so we make it a top priority to make sure we are feeding everyone a nutritious diet to ensure a long, happy life. Our days here at the Primate Rescue Center begin and end with feeding. Every morning the chimps start the day with a fresh piece of fruit. It can be an apple, a pear, or even, yes…a banana, while the monkeys start their day off with some lettuce and seeds. After that, our staff and volunteers begin chopping a mixture of fruits and veggies to feed to the chimps and monkeys. Later, the chimps get lunch which our staff and volunteers prepare from our PRC cookbook. All of our recipes take in to account the total carbohydrate, fat, and sugar levels in order to maintain a healthy level of each. Non- human primates can suffer from diabetes and other weight related heath issues, so it is imperative that we feed them a healthy, balanced diet to prevent these diseases. The monkeys also have a dinner prepared from the cookbook along with another serving of lettuce mixed with nuts or seeds. The chimps end their day with another mixture of chopped fruits and veggies. We also supplement their diets with monkey and chimp chow.
Needless to say, we are so grateful to our area Kroger stores who graciously donate food on a daily basis. Every afternoon our staff and volunteers spend time unloading and sorting through the produce donated by Kroger. We keep a variety of fruits and veggies, as well as nuts and other dry goods that we can use in recipes or in monkey and chimp “chop” each day. We also use monetary donations to buy groceries to feed all of the monkeys and chimps. If you would like to contribute to the care of a specific resident in our care, check out our Primate Pals program where you can “adopt” one of our monkeys or chimps and provide food for them through your generous donations.
It’s a big job to feed all of these animals, and it takes up a lot of time to prepare meals each day, but we love doing it because we love our residents!
A couple weekends ago, all eleven of our chimpanzees received thorough physical examinations. Our veterinarian Dr. Dan Bowling was joined by Save the Chimps veterinarian Dr. Jocelyn Bezner to perform the check-ups. Also assisting was Dr. Woodrow Friend of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital who provided his expertise and digital radiograph equipment. We were able to examine all eleven chimps in three days. We were very fortunate that Dr. Bezner shared her anesthesia administration technique where we were able to hide a small needle in a glove, so staff could quickly stick each chimp (which only felt like a bee sting). This prevented us from having to dart any of the chimps and made for a mostly stress-free experience for the entire group.
A chimpanzee physical is not so different from an annual exam for a human. We evaluate their overall health, collect blood and urine samples, look at their teeth and gums, examine their ears, listen to their hearts, etc. The males in the group get x-rays of their hearts, since male chimps in captivity are prone to heart disease. After a few minor health issues were addressed (some teeth did have to be pulled), the veterinarians gave the chimps a clean bill of health.
We are so grateful to Dr. Bezner from Save the Chimps for taking the time to assist our Dr. Bowling. We all learned so much and look forward to working with her in the future. We are also so thankful that Dr. Friend was able to provide services that were crucial in assessing the health of our chimpanzee group. He even assisted with Donald’s tooth removal, which turned out to be quite an endeavor.
We take great pride in providing the highest quality care for our residents, which certainly includes their medical needs as well. These check-ups are essential in our evaluation of our residents’ overall health and lifetime care. We are also so thankful to all the volunteers who helped us during these three days so that the staff could focus on moving chimps, prepping knock down and wake up areas, assisting with medical procedures, and monitoring the chimps as they woke up from anesthesia.
As you can imagine, the cost of performing these physicals does add up quickly. The anesthesia medications, emergency medications to have on hand, and other medical supplies are certainly not inexpensive. While we were fortunate to have had many supplies donated, our budget is strained. If you would like to donate to help us recoup some of these costs, please consider earmarking a donation for medical care.
Executive Director April Truitt and the PRC Carestaff with Dr. Dan Bowling (left) & Dr. Jocelyn Bezner (center)
Dr. Dan Bowling, Dr. Jocelyn Bezner, and Dr. Woodrow Friend
Check out the full story in the Jessamine Journal.
The Humane Society of the United States announces the winners of their Chimpanzee Art Contest
Let U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service know you support the status change of captive chimpanzees to "endangered"!
The USFWS will be accepting public comments until August 12 on a proposal to upgrade the status of captive chimpanzees from "threatened" to "endangered". Now is the time to close this "split listing" loophole which for decades has enabled biomedical research, chimpanzees as "pets", and commercial exploitation in advertising and circuses. We need your help!
Please join us and Dr. Jane Goodall in supporting this significant proposal. Comments may be mailed or sent electronically to the USFWS until August 12, 2013.
Follow this link to submit electronically: Make your voice heard!
This link is to the official government page. Submit your comment by clicking on the ''Comment Now!'' box in the top right hand corner.
By hard copy:
Submit by U.S. mail or hand-deliver to:
Public Comments Processing
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
One of my favorite tasks here at the Primate Rescue Center is enriching the lives of our residents. We provide a variety of large and small toys, magazines, paper bags, noise makers, boxes, etc. that our residents can use as they like. Jenny Chimpanzee loves using the paper bags to lie down on, and Jake our Japanese Macaque loves to play with soccer balls. Our staff, volunteers, and interns love coming up with new designs, particularly if they include a treat which can be challenging to obtain.
One novel idea that we like to give to our residents is the Food Plait. Inside this braid of twisted paper, we weave a variety of items such as cereal, nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit. On the outside of the braid, we brush it with flour and water to make it sturdy and extra tasty. The chimpanzees love to tear it apart to see what’s inside, and the monkeys will use their teeth to rip the side of a braid and pick out all the goodies.
Another favorite among our residents are the seed shakers. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are made by reusing clean water bottles, gallon jugs, bleach bottles, etc. We like to fill part of these seed shakers with newspaper strips or pine shavings, and then we add seeds, nuts and dried fruit to the mix. We then drill small holes around the seed shakers so that the monkeys can reach inside and pick out their treats. Or, they may just choose to shake the seeds out. The chimpanzees will carry a seed shaker around for hours to get every last goodie that is inside!
We love developing new enrichment ideas for our residents, and they love to get new and challenging items! If you have any ideas be sure to let us know and don’t forget to check out our wish list for some enrichment that our residents already love!