The Primate Rescue Center was recently featured in National Geographic Kids Chapters: Tiger in Trouble! And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues by Kelly Milner Halls. Our chapters are about the rescue stories of Bob, Caleb, and Suzie. These chapters focus on their lives before arriving at the PRC, their rehabilitation process, and how this unlikely group became a family. Unfortunately, Suzie passed away due to her diabetes before the story was published, but we still wanted to share the unlikely bond these very different monkeys shared and the journeys each of them took to find each other.
This story has seemed to inspire so many young readers. We have received so much interest and even collected several fantastic care packages from individual kids and school groups who have read the story and fallen in love with Bob, Caleb, and Suzie.
Each care package usually comes with some special treats, like pretzles, peanut butter, peanuts, honey, and raisins for the monkeys. But, we also get other great gifts of hand drawn pictures of monkeys in trees, personal letters, and photographs. Some examples include one from a boy who loves riding horses and connected with Bob, who is full of energy. Another package and letter came from a grandmother who was a former teacher and read the story to her grandchildren. They fell in love with the connection these monkeys made with each other. We also received a great care package from an elementary school in Florida where each student in the class wrote a letter asking questions about Bob, Caleb, and Suzie and expressed how much they enjoyed reading their story. They even sent us their sympathy and condolence messages about Suzie’s passing and asked how Bob and Caleb were adjusting. It was just so amazing to hear from these bright young and interested minds.
A couple weeks ago, just before summer break, I got the opportunity to answer some of those questions through a Skype video chat with those 3rd grade students. I set up a laptop in front of Bob and Caleb’s enclosure so that they could meet some of their biggest fans. I spent about 30 minutes answering these students’ wonderful and intelligent questions, as Bob and Caleb ate peanuts in the background. I could tell that they had really connected with the personalities of Bob and Caleb, had learned a lot about primate behavior, and learned why monkeys do not belong in private homes as pets.
The Primate Rescue Center strives to educate the public about primates and the issues they face in pet trade. We really feel like we are making a difference when we reach the younger generations. It is up to these young kids to continue the work to end the cycle of breeding and selling baby monkeys as pets, to put an end to the pain of being separated from their primate mothers, and to stand up for those monkeys who do not have a voice. Judging from the kids I spoke with a couple weeks ago, they certainly have the compassion and intelligence to take on this challenge!