Lovely and kind Saidah Barbary macaque passed away on the morning of February 26, 2021, with her caregivers and her friend Sissy rhesus macaque by her side. Saidah was diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable tumor in her chest and its continued growth was finally too much for her body to carry on.
Saidah was one of four Barbary macaques rescued by the PRC from the Southern Nevada Zoological – Botanical Park unofficially referred to as the Las Vegas Zoo. She arrived at the PRC in October 2013 after the roadside attraction was shut down by the USDA. Animal rescue groups and the remaining caregiving staff stepped in to save over 200 animals who desperately needed sanctuary. Our founder, April Truitt, was instrumental in assisting local authorities with the rescue of the primates living at this zoo. The zoo did not provide adequate resources for the carestaff to provide for the animals – resulting in lack of enrichment, deficient diets, and inferior medical care. Saidah, along with Shatar, Soda and Rex, arrived at the PRC in poor health and were immediately treated by our veterinarian. We provided them with fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens and nuts, and stimulating enrichment to improve their overall mental and physical health. Slowly, we began to see them relax and show us their sweet and unique personalities.
During her time at the Primate Rescue Center, Saidah befriended several different monkeys, including the Barbary macaques she arrived with, Jake Japanese macaque, George rhesus macaque, Hope Japanese macaque, and Sissy rhesus macaque. Saidah was instrumental in helping young George macaque adjust to sanctuary life when he arrived. She became his surrogate mother and cared for him, cuddled him and groomed him to help him feel safe and loved. Saidah was also Hope Japanese macaque’s very first best friend. Although Hope has a vision impairment, Saidah was sweet and gentle with her and the pair were quite happy together. While Hope was recovering from an emergency surgery, Saidah lived with Sissy rhesus macaque, who was with Saidah as she passed away, gently grooming her friend as she drifted away.
Saidah was a chatty monkey and would get especially vocal when she saw the caregivers bringing her meals. She loved to eat all kinds of greens and nuts, and she was known for keeping a carrot stick in her mouth to nibble on for several hours after she had finished her meal. Saidah had a distinct, beautiful, thick coat of hair which kept her quite cozy during the colder months, and she preferred to be outside anytime she could. Even on rainy or snowy days, Saidah would choose to snuggle up inside her outside barrel and ride out the weather outside. She loved to watch her monkey neighbors and the caregivers as they worked around her enclosure, keeping a close eye on all the sanctuary activities and monkey drama going on each day. Her expression often reminded us of “Grumpy Cat,” but she was always so relaxed and seemed easily pleased.
We are so glad Saidah had the opportunity to spend her final years in a safe and peaceful environment with plenty of friends by her side. Trusting her caregivers to keep her safe and healthy was difficult for Saidah, but we watched her grow from a fearful and shy monkey to a strong and brave girl who was happy and able to enjoy her life. We will miss her unique and beautiful face and her happy squeals, and we are honored that we had the chance to meet and care for such a resilient and wonderful monkey.