Sanctuary Life: 1997 – 2019
Strong and resilient Tonya long-tailed macaque passed away on January 31, 2019. Tonya went peacefully and had the comfort of her best friend Toby right by her side. Tonya arrived at the PRC in November 1997, after spending the first eight years of her life at the New York University Medical Center’s Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP). LEMSIP records reveal that from 1989 to 1997, Tonya was a research subject for iron toxicity experiments and was sedated over 75 times, with an especially difficult year in 1993 when she was sedated 33 times and endured 8 liver biopsies that year. We can only imagine the effects these invasive procedures had on her daily life. Fortunately, Tonya was retired to the Primate Rescue Center where she could live a peaceful, quiet life. But, the years and procedures Tonya experienced in the lab affected her overall health as she aged. Tonya developed diabetes later in life–likely related to the long-term damage to her organs as a result of the experimentation she endured in the laboratory. She was 30 years old when she died of complications related to diabetes. Tonya made many friends over the 22 years she lived at the sanctuary, with one in particular who would turn out to be her best friend until the very end. Toby and Tonya were inseparable companions. They loved to sit near each other, they shared their food, they groomed often, and they literally slept with their arms wrapped around each other. They genuinely seemed to love each other dearly. Tonya will always be remembered for her happy vocalizations when she received her favorite foods and the brightness in her beautiful, wise eyes. She had such strength and resilience, despite the many hardships she experienced. Tonya’s never-ending devotion and love for her friend Toby was a love story for the ages. We are honored to have given Tonya the chance to live a full and long life.