(ANIMAL RESCUE) TEXAS — After receiving approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday, 112 macaques and one baboon will be transferred from a wildlife animal orphanage to a nearby sanctuary. Due to overpopulation and underfunding, the orphanage has exhibited a steady decline since August 2010 and can no longer care for the large number of animals. Read on to learn more about the challenges involved in this difficult yet remarkable transfer. — Global Animal
My San Antonio, Vincent T. Davis
A transfer of 113 primates from the defunct Wild Animal Orphanage to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley was approved Monday by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas.
In August 2010, the Northwest Side animal orphanage announced on its website that it was being dissolved because of overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing.
More than 190 animals were at two locations, a 7-acre site at 9626 Leslie Road and 102 acres on Talley Road, at the time of the announcement.
The primates, 112 macaques and one baboon, will remain at the orphanage for three to four months until each animal has been medically tested and sterilized and additional structures at the 186-acre Dilley sanctuary are built.
Sanctuaries were found earlier for 16 chimpanzees, 55 tigers, 14 African lions, 20 baboons and six wolf hybrids through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Much of the funding needed to create new structures at the Born Free sanctuary was secured as part of the bankruptcy agreement with the orphanage, but the Born Free sanctuary states on its website that it needs donations to help pay for the care of the new additions.
Born Free USA worked with the Texas attorney general’s office and the orphanage to arrange for the animals to join the sanctuary, which cares for 532 primates rescued from roadside zoos, laboratories and private owners.
Securing a home for the large number of primates wasn’t easy, said Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA.
“This is a heartbreaking situation, particularly for this large group of primates who would otherwise likely be euthanized without our humane intervention,” Roberts said in a statement.
“Wild animals belong in the wild and the scenarios that create the need for sanctuaries should not exist at all. Sanctuaries are filled to capacity, lack adequate funding, and yet are most captive animals’ only hope for a humane future.”
Former orphanage staff members were unavailable for comment.
The animals range in age from 1 to more than 30 years old, with physical conditions that include cataracts, blindness and age-related bone issues.
During the 24 years the orphanage was open, it took in hundreds of animals from private owners who couldn’t care for them.
There was Chappy, a crab-eating macaque, whose stressful life in a lab resulted in his plucking his body bald. Fifi, a rhesus macaque, had been caged in a New York City basement. And there was Dex, a stump-tailed macaque, used for research that left him with only a thumb and index finger on his right hand.
In October 2010, law enforcement officers recovered a 12-year-old escaped cougar after police shot it with a tranquilizer dart 100 yards from the orphanage.
“Every day wild animals need to be rescued from pet owners, laboratories, roadside zoos and other abusive circumstances,” Roberts said.
“But this time it is about a large sanctuary having to shut down completely and demonstrates just how challenging wildlife rescue work is.”
More My San Antonio: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/