Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all our SBFPS friends! May you enjoy this time with your families, friends and loved ones.  Thank you so much for your continued support. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Press Release Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary Welcomes Darwin

For immediate release
December 11, 2012

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary welcomes Darwin

Darwin, dubbed the “Ikea Monkey” by media and social media has made front page headlines around the world. On December 9, 2012 this infant macaque was found wandering in a retail parking lot.  Working together with other organizations, including Toronto Animal Services and Animal Alliance, Darwin is now a resident of Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary (SBFPS) in Sunderland, Ontario.  “Darwin’s story highlights the issue of exotic animals as pets” states Sherri Delaney, founder of the sanctuary. He arrived at the sanctuary and is settling in where he will be socialized with other monkeys and be provided the type of care he requires including environmental and social enrichment. 

SBFPS is home to twenty-three (23) other primates who have come from private owners, roadside zoos and research.  “People do not realize that monkeys do not make good pets. When they pass infancy and mature, problems arise.  Social isolation and the need to be with their own kind results in aggression and stress behaviours. Raising them as humans is detrimental to their development, mental and social well being.” says Delaney. All infants need to be with their natural mothers to feed, learn social skills and to be loved – macaques in particular grow up in groups of infants surrounding their mother. Darwin was removed from his biological mother to become a pet, a pseudo-human child. Infant monkeys fetch high prices, fueling the black market trade – we are determined to find out who sold Darwin and where these monkeys are coming from. Breeder female primates are often exploited in the exotic pet trade and are left without their offspring, in terrible health and grieving as mothers do. While images of Darwin in a coat and diapers appear to indicate that he is well cared for, albeit highly unnatural, even with the best intentions owners are not equipped to handle a mature monkey with large canines who will demonstrate natural aggressive behaviours and tendencies. We are frequently contacted by owners who can no longer handle their “pet” monkey and need to relinquish them for safety purposes – this could have been Darwin in a few years if he hadn’t escaped.

Macaques are volatile in nature and carry the Herpes B virus, Hepatitis and many other transmissible diseases to humans, some of which can be fatal.  Owning a macaque has the potential to put the owners and community at risk to infection and injury. There could have been a very different outcome to this story if an injury had occurred. Recent incidents in Canada and US have resulted in death to both human owners and animals in their care. Currently, in Canada, no Federal or Provincial regulations exist around the ownership of exotic animals.  Municipalities are left to determine which animals are considered illegal and on what grounds. It is illegal for Toronto residents to own non-human primates, and so Darwin will not be returning to his previous owner, Yasmin Nakhuda. However, once the media buzz dies down, we are willing to work with her to ensure that she is confident that Darwin will be in good hands with all his mental, social and physical needs met. We want what is best for all parties involved, and we are happy to accommodate requests that are in Darwin’s best interests.

Darwin will now live life in sanctuary care, learning to be a monkey. He is adjusting well already, and is extremely confident for such a little monkey. He has been exploring his enclosure, playing with all his toys and interacting with the other monkeys in surrounding enclosures. Our hope is that he can be adopted by one of our baboons with a maternal instinct, since he is in need of a mother figure in his life and she is in need of social companionship. We encourage members of the public to visit Darwin’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/ikeamonkeydarwin) or sign up for our E-Newsletter to receive updates.

Donations for his care can be made at www.storybookfarmprimatesanctuary.com. As this is an unexpected arrival, we greatly appreciate any contributions – they will go a long way to securing the future of our residents.

About Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary is a sanctuary for primates who come from a variety of different backgrounds.  The farm is located approximately one hour north east of Toronto in the Sunderland area. Currently, we are home to 23 primates. We at SBFPS are committed to educating and raising awareness about the plight of captive primates, advocate on behalf of primates who do not have a voice of their own and help prevent cruelty to animals through the operation of a primate sanctuary.

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary is a place of safety. We offer freedom from fear. We are a place of healing and recovery from trauma. In sanctuary care, we encourage friendships between residents. We encourage exploration and freedom of choice. We give back the ability to make decisions and control events that affect residents' lives. Our human caregivers exercise deep listening skills to help address the residents' wants and needs. We strive for humility and parity and look at each day as a learning opportunity.  Our dedicated volunteers have extensive expertise in the care and husbandry of primates, including great apes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Facts – Meet the Browns (Lemurs that is!)

Rosie and Komoto are the two brown lemur residents at SBFPS. As primates, they are highly social, in the wild living in groups with up to 30 - 40 individuals.  In the sanctuary, they snuggle with each other and interact with their ring-tailed lemur neighbours.  “The Browns” as we call them are interested in watching the humans washing dishes and working around the barn.  One of their favourite treats are grapes – they are so cute when they eat them!  They have soft hands, are gentle and love to bask in the sun.  They are flight animals, meaning they would rather flee than fight.

Rosie enjoying a grape in her enrichment!
·        Lemurs are found on the island of Madagascar, located off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. They have also been found to live on Mayotte, an island to the north of Madagascar.

·        Brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus fulvus) are typically herbivores, eating fruits, flowers, and leaves, but they will, on occasion, eat centipedes, millipedes, and other insects. They will also consume bark, sap, and clay.

·        They live in forests, both rain forests and dry forests, ensures that they have an ample supply of food, with plenty of plant and animal life around to nibble on.

·         They are excellent jumpers, moving from tree to tree with ease and use their tail for balance when needed. They spend less than 2% of their time on the ground. When on the ground, they usually run around on all 4 legs.

·        As with all of the true lemurs, olfactory communication is extraordinarily important.  They have scent glands on their wrists and throats and use them to mark location and as an individual “signature”. 

·        The brown lemur is classified as near threatened on the IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) red list of threatened species. Over the past 3 generations (24 years) the population is estimated to have decreased by 20 to 25%. This is mostly due to decline in both the area and the quality of its habitat in its only known range. The brown lemur also suffers from exploration.
·        ohn: this is a nasal sound that is used in maintain-ing group cohesion (we hear this all the time in the barn!)
·        cree: this high-pitched sound is used as a terri-torial call
·        crou: this sound is the alarm call of the brown lemur

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Feature - Friday Facts!

Happy Friday all! Today we are introducing a new feature on our blog - Friday Facts!

Our primate residents come from all over the world and encompass "New World" and "Old World" species. Old World primarily refers to monkeys from Africa and New World those from South America. In Old World monkeys, the nostrils face downward and are narrow. New World monkeys have round nostrils facing to the side. They are fascinating and have specific social structures and behaviours.

Today we bring you facts about marmosets. At Story Book Farm, we have three little ones - Pablo and Amigo - common marmosets - and Mickey, who is a pencil marmoset. Although they are tiny, they are so full of personality and highly social. There is not a doubt as to what they are saying and what they want. Especially Mickey when she goes wild over Veggie Stiks! When I first visited the barn, I heard beautiful chirping and wondered where the birds where. Turns out it is the vocalization of marmosets! Amigo loves looking into the mirror. Pablo runs across of overhead tunnel and if you are not careful you may get a surprise. Mickey is our Diva - she is so pretty and very particular. She does not like her mealworms in her bowl, but wants then served separately!

Did you know:
  • "Marmoset" is derived from the French "marmouset" which means, loosely, shrimp or dwarf. An apt name, considering they are the smallest of the true monkeys (the lightest of the true monkeys is the pygmy marmoset).
  • These monkeys use their specialized claws to establish a firm grip on tree trunks and gnaw little holes in the bark with their lower incisors and canines. This causes the tree to produce more sap, which is used to seal injuries to the bark. This tree sap is a valuable source of carbohydrates and minerals.
  • Common marmoset is considered the best species able to adapt to human changes in their environment.
  • The species was first introduced by humans in southeastern Brazil where it has propagated so successfully it is regularly observed in the marginal park districts of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Marmosets live in mixed sex groups of up to 13 individuals. Only the head male and female will produce offspring. The mechanism that supposedly suppresses reproduction in lower-ranking females is still being studied.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lumber Jack Day at the Sanctuary Today was a great day at the farm for Lumber Jack Day. There was a fantastic turnout of eager, hardworking volunteers and the weather was amazing! A big thank you to all the volunteers that helped chop, split, and pile wood that will be used to heat the barn for our monkey residents in the upcoming winter months. Buddy the goat loved all of the attention he received from everyone and I'm sure he will have sweet dreams tonight knowing he has made quite a few more fans :) Our monkey's also received specially wrapped presents with treats inside, including sugar cane, which they all seemed to enjoy very much! Thanks to everyone who came out and worked very hard to make a difference for our residents.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another Thank You!

So sorry to be so tardy about this - but there are more huge thank-yous to be sent out!

First - the Toronto Veggie Food Fair - what a great weekend! Once again we got to meet many old and new friends.  We want to thank everyone for all the support that they showed us at this event! Many people signed up to help out at Lumberjack Days coming this Fall - the September one is over, but October and November are still to come.  Check the website and register to be a part of the team that keeps the monkeys warm over the winter!

And that is the second thank you:  to Kevin and Katharine who came to the Lumberjack Day in September and worked hard all day at getting the wood supply ready for the winter.  They got to meet all the monkeys too, and I think they enjoyed their visit! We hope they will be back!

It is now fall, and the monkeys have seen the last of the really warm days and nights. The doors are mostly shut now come evening, since it gets too cool in the barn for our tropical residents to be comfortable.

And that is why we need your help!  That wood furnace goes through a lot of wood, and we need to have an enormous pile ready to feed it over the next few months!  So - if you are looking for a way to support our rescued primates - please consider coming out to a Lumberjack Day!  The more people we have working, the faster the woodpile grows.  And if you have experience with a chainsaw or a wood splitter - you are GOLD!!!!!!

Check out www.storybookfarmprimatesanctuary.com to sign up!

So - once again - a huge thank you to everyone who supported us over the past season - Holly's Hope attendees and Sharon, its wonderful organiser, Open Day visitors, Baseball tournament participants and its great organisers, the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival and all the visitors who dropped by the SBFPS booth, Lumberjacks - both past and future! We could not do what we do without your help.

One last word - we have 2013 calendars for sale as well, each month featuring a different resident.  They are selling for $20.00 each. If you are interested, find them on our website!

Happy Fall!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thanks for a great weekend

All of us at Story Book Farm want to thank everyone who came out to support us over the past weekend. The Baseball Tournament on Saturday was a great success, and the dance afterwards was fun!!!!  We had a great dj!!!
And Sunday, we had many people come through the barn during our second and final Open House of the year.  We sold out all the tickets we had and were busy all day with visitors.
Thank you all so much for making this such a great, fun and successful weekend!!!!!  Watch for news about other events coming up!

                                                    Julien had a great Open House!!!!

We will be at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair at Harbourfront on Sept, 7, 8 and 9.
And there are upcoming Lumberjack Days on the schedule too - one in September, one in October and one in November - getting all that wood ready for our wood burning furnace to keep the monkeys warm and comfortable over the winter!  We would love to have many of you come out to help - and meet the monkeys too while you are there!


There is more sadness to express, I am afraid.  Last week we lost our beautiful old Black Spider Monkey, Susie.  She was elderly - into her late 30's or even early 40's, although we don't know the exact date of her birth.  She died very peacefully in her sleep.  She will be very much missed in the barn, especially by her companion of many years, George.  Mr. Jenkins, who lives next door and is another Spider Monkey, is also grieving for Susie.  And of course all of the two-leggeds who help out in the barn are very saddened by her absence.
But we all know that Susie had 10 great years at the Farm.  She may have had a challenging life prior to arriving at Story Book with George in 2003, but since her arrival she has been loved and treated with respect and gentleness by everyone who has come into contact with her.

Susie loved to rest outside on her platform in the summer months.  She would spend the whole day out there, just soaking up the warmth of the sun.

Susie was always hard to photograph because she was so dark - but she loved to come over to see whatever was going on, and if she was feeling especially friendly toward you on any particular day, she would give you a hug with her tail.  That was a great honour!

We know she is resting in peace.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The TV was off...

Sunday was my first day to the farm after our beloved Chelsea passed.  For each of us, that first time in the barn after a death is extremely difficult.  Losing Chelsea has been particularly heartbreaking for all of us.  Amongst the hustle and bustle, cleaning the fridge, pressure washing the floor, making dinner I passed the tv and it was off.  The tv was off.  Then the pain hit again.. no Chelsea ... no tv.... The tv was there for her.  She loved watching it and we all made sure there was a steady supply of nature videos, children's shows, programs with monkeys in them... all the things that Chelsea loved to watch. Throughout her time with us, the tv's grew in size as volunteers and friends would get her bigger and better ones, a new VCR, a new DVD player, Leonard even tried to hook up the satellite in the barn for her!  She loved watching Mark Hebscher on CHCH and would make her happy num-num sounds.  Now, there is quiet - no rubber boots being thrown in the air, happy chatting, no shrieking to let us know that George had touched her boots, no little hands reaching out for a groom... the tv was off..

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's time for the Baseball Tournament

The annual Baseball tournament is almost here!
There is a slight error on the poster - the Tournament is actually on SATURDAY August 25!!!!  Our second Open House of the summer takes place on SUNDAY August 26!!!  A very busy weekend for sure!
This year we have added a dance to end off the tournament - should be lots of fun and tickets are only $10.00 for that!  Even if you can't make the dance, we would love to have you show your support by buying a ticket anyway!!!!!!
Hope to see lots of you on both of these days.
Remember to register for the Open House...the website will tell you how to do that!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


 This is by far the hardest entry I have written.
Many of you will know by now. We lost our beautiful Chelsea on Monday July 16, 2012.  She had spent the last 5 years with us and she was such a happy girl.  She had dozens of shoes and looked after them always.  She loved to play with her ball, smash her hula hoop around, ride her shoes on her back.  She reached out to her friends (the people who looked after her) and held hands - especially if something had upset her.  She loved to groom arms, legs, even heads and did it so very gently.  She enjoyed watching bubbles floating around and never said no to a treat.  She looked after old blind Nan who will now have to manage on her own.

We miss her and are still in shock over her loss.  Rest in peace, beautiful girl.  You will always be with us...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Buddy Lemur finally gets outside!

The second outdoor enclosure for the two "kitchen lemurs" was completed on Sunday.  We did a little switching of the boys, so now Remi lemur lives in the enclosure closer to the entrance door - all the coming and going was sometimes a little stressful for Buddy lemur who used to live there.  But now he lives in the inner enclosure.  And both boys can go outside.  Remi has been going out since the spring, but Sunday was Buddy's first time.  He was great - never one to be shy or hang back from a new challenge.  He met Mickey marmoset while she was outside, and he made some wonderful leaps from the doorway all the way over to the platform perch at the opposite side of the space.  What a long way he has come since his arrival at the Farm!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Some recent shots of the family!!

                                                      Relaxing after dinner!
                                              Chelsea tackles a water bottle!  And wins!!!!
                                                Pockets is excited - as always!
                                             Jenkins enjoys some fresh leaves.
                                           Julien is fishing for grapes.
                                          Pierre works on his enrichment bottle - loves it!!!!!
                                            Mickey says Hi!!!!!
                                               Rosie looks for more treats!
                                           One of the boys poses for the camera!
                                                   Susie is enjoying the sun!
                                            Remi reaches out for a scratch!
                                              Beautiful Lily Goat!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chelsea plays!!!!!

Chelsea is always excited when her floor has been cleared.  When the old straw has been removed, she comes down from the step and plays!  Sometimes she bats her ball around, sometimes she tosses her shoes. She likes to see what she might have missed as well - treats that might have been hiding under the straw!  But she is always sure to keep her shoes (whichever ones are the favourites of the day) close by - she sometimes even carries one or two on her back - the way she might a baby baboon.
It might take a while to complete the cleaning of her enclosure - we have to wait for her to go back up to her platform before we can continue, but she is such a joy to watch!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

There is a new Story Book book!!!!!!!
Check it out here:
 It's called Here's Looking at You - and it's a great book for kids!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Julian meets Lexy - again!

There is a short version of this coming up in the next newsletter...but for anyone wanting more detailed info.....

Julian and Lexy are both Japanese macaques, although neither has ever been to Japan!  They were first together several years ago in an Ontario roadside zoo where conditions were not very pleasant.

Lexy was born in 2002.  In her early life she was privately owned.  If she misbehaved, she was duct taped into a laundry basket.  When she became unmanageable, she was surrendered to the roadside zoo along with another female named Dalyla.  That was when she first met Julian.  Since he was her junior in years, she dominated him and gave him many challenges.  In 2006, Lexy arrived at Story Book Farm where she was to be a companion to an aging Japanese macaque, Yoshi, who was retired from bio-medical research.

Lexy and Yoshi got on very well together, and whereas before, Lexy had been bossy and mean with Dalyla and Julian, she was kind and caring with Yoshi.  The arrangement worked very well, until Yoshi passed away in the spring of 2009.  After that, Lexy lived in her enclosure alone.  She is a strong and determined creature, not at all interested in "making friends" with her human caregivers.  Interactions with Lexy involved the shaking of the caging and her attempts to frighten away anyone who came too close.

Julian was born in 2003 at the same roadside zoo where Lexy lived.  He remained with his family group for a short while, but was later moved into the area where Lexy and Dalyla lived.  Lexy beat him up and made his life miserable.  In 2006 when Lexy transferred to SBF, Julian was left alone with Dalyla.  In 2008, these two escaped their enclosure together. Dalyla was killed during the attempts to recapture the escapees, but Julian managed to stay free for 12 days, during which he hid in the local community.  He was finally cornered in a garden shed, but instead of retruning to the roadside zoo, he came to live at Story Book Farm.

Julian had been through a lot in his short life - and he was not a very happy macaque.  As a result of being on display and teased for years, he had developed self-mutilation behaviours that would activate every time someone looked in his direction.  He was an angry monkey, and could only punish himself for what he had been through.  He was housed at SBF in an enclosure beside Lexy.  They could see, hear and smell each other, and occasionally they would reach out to each other through the mesh and touch fingers.  They had regular conversations - gentle murmurings and whistles passing between the two of them.  This situation continued for some time.

In 2011 with the help of our wonderful vet (Dr. Jim Holmes of the Anderson Veterinary Clinic in Ajax who has looked after the SBF monkeys for some years now, and Toronto Zoo Animal Health Centre in the persons of Dr (to be) Izzy Hirji and Dr. Iga Stassiek , we were able to have surgery performed on Julian to castrate him.  It was hoped that this would relieve his aggressive tendencies.  And the goal was to put Julian and Lexy together - and not produce more macaques!

After the procedure, we definitely noticed a difference in Julian's behaviour. He was quieter, gentler, did not self-mutilate to nearly the same degree - in fact this behaviour seems to have disappeared almost entirely!  People could now sit outside Julian's  enclosure, and he would come and sit with them.  He even accepts scratches to his thick soft fur (not by fingers, but using a stick or other long-handled object.)

And best of all, Julian and Lexy are now sharing the same space.  On Sunday March 11, 2012, we finally opened the door between the two areas.  Julian was shy and stayed put, but Lexy went exploring and entered Jules' area.  There was a little noise - but within a few minutes, they were actively grooming each other.  They have not been separated since, and they are getting along beautifully.  

This was a great accomplishment for SBF - and Julian and Lexy now have richer lives together.

Lexy (left) and Julian watch as the building proceeds on Julian's old enclosure to get it ready for Pierre.

Thanks Vandermeer Nursery!!!!

The monkeys loved the trees you sent!!!!!!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!

The Brown lemurs, Rosie and Komoto, investigate the new plant in their space!

Cheeko rips off leaves and takes them outside to nibble in the sun!

Chelsea is thrilled with her new tree!

Komoto thinks this leaf is tasty!

Pierre is dancing - not only is he in his new enclosure, but it has a lovely tree in it too!

 Pockets rolls his tree all over his space.

One of the ring-tailed lemur boys gets right into his new plant!!!