Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekends at SBF (1)

The first nine

I started going out to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in March of 2009 - and now my week feels incomplete without my Sunday visit to the creatures! Of course I have met some wonderful people in the past while - Sherri and Leonard are two of the finest I have ever come across in many long years of experience!
But the primates are so special. And as I have spent more time there, I have come to know them in some small ways...
Susie was an invisible Spider monkey when I first went to SBF. For the first several weeks, I didn't see her at all, but was told that she was old and not very strong - perhaps not a good prognosis for the future. But with the arrival of spring and the building of the outside enclosures for those creatures who did not yet have one - Susie blossomed. She spent every day (at least when I was there) out on her platform soaking up the summer warmth. She got stronger, she ate better - even switching back to real food from the Boost diet she was on - and coming to meet me. It is such an honour to have this old girl come to the mesh and talk to me, put her head down and ask for a scratch, shift her body so that scratch can be delivered to other areas. George, her enclosure-mate, has always been outgoing and friendly, talkative and sociable (and adored by all), but to get to know Susie has been a real joy.
Then there is Sweet Pea, the Olive baboon who can be sweet or scary depending on the moment and the circumstances. Yesterday she needed to be lured outside so the door could be closed and her indoor enclosure cleaned. The wonderful bottle of peanuts, peanut butter and banana didn't do the trick - but she loves her ju jubes. And she takes them with all the gentleness in the world. She also likes a scratch from time to time, and I was again honoured when she presented herself against the mesh to me and asked me to give her a little rub. I hesitated for a few weeks before I worked up the courage to do this, but now I am ready to grant her request as it comes. There is always vigilance here - Sweet Pea has really impressive teeth and is certainly strong - but she also seems to be grateful for the attention.
And I have seen incredible changes in Lexy and Julian, the Japanese macaques. Their backgrounds are horrific, and they can be very frightening animals. I have no doubt that either of them would attack and injure severely if given the chance. But I have also seen great changes in their behaviour. With the love and kindness they get now - plus good food, enrichment, clean surroundings - they have both calmed down considerably and some of the violence seems to be oozing away. They are both scary still, and I am always extra careful in their vicinity - but they seem to have gentled somewhat, and perhaps one day they will be scratchable too...

A Primate Christmas Wish

Happy Monday! Now that Santa Claus has come to town, we are all wishing for a happy Christmas!

Could you help make the primates warm and cozy for the winter? Currently, their home is heated by an oil furnace. As we align our values and goals to be ever more environmentally diligent and cost effective, our wish is to install an outdoor wood burning furnace with a capacity to heat >6,000 square feet. Can you assist in making this wish come true? If you have any contacts or leads, please feel free to contact Leonard White and/or Sherri Delaney at 705-357-3961. Your monetary donation is also appreciated, and can be made through our website via PayPal or by cheque.

We, along with all the monkeys, including the newest resident - Pockets - appreciate your ongoing support and generosity!