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Report from Primarily Primates - May 2007

May 14, 2007 | Primarily Primates / Chimpanzees

(including video segment from the arrival of the Primarily Primates sanctuary staff after the temporary receivership staff officially departed the grounds at 4.00 in the afternoon on Tuesday the 1st of May).

Description: Film dated 1 May 2007, at Primarily Primates, San Antonio Texas. 1 min, 13 sec.

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Friends of Animals would like to thank the kind contributors to Primarily Primates in this critical month. We'd also like to update you on what you're helping to accomplish at the sanctuary.

The first two weeks involved an intensive effort to clean the refuge grounds in and surrounding the enclosures, which were in severe disarray when the staff arrived at 4.50 pm. This clean-up work has been the priority; the staff plans to distribute more updates on how the work is going and, most important, the situation with PPI's nonhuman residents, as and when time permits.

Dr. Valerie Kirk, who has regularly attended to the medical care of primates at the refuge, was present during the first 48 hours of this orientation after the receivership drew to a close. Dr. Kirk reported, unfortunately, having one word to sum up the scene: "Disgusting."

Also on the scene during the first 48 hours was attorney Eric Turton, who has visited the refuge during the receivership, as well as a representative from the Texas Attorney General's office. It was the Attorney General's office which agreed, during the last month of April, that the discontinuation of the receivership and the beginning of management of Primarily Primates under a restructured board of directors would be in the best interest of the state of Texas, the refuge, and the nonhuman residents themselves.

The above is a brief clip of the scene during the orientation of the care staff, filmed less than two hours after the actual changeover. You will see and hear Stephen Rene Tello speaking about the state of the grounds. The clip shows grassy primate enclosures littered with refuse, including soft toys and stuffing from soft toys, Fig Newton wrappers, potato chip wrappers, and brown paper bags. There is a Mountain Dew type cardboard packaging box. There are numerous wet and heavily soiled blankets, and the arriving staff found food lying in excrement and excrement on food.

There are large puddles of water, some of which could be explained by recent rainy weather in the San Antonio area, but some that has an algal film. The camera will show many red "Kong" dog chew toys sitting in the area where this liquid is. The drier parts of the enclosure floors are scattered with patches of dark mud mixed in spots with excrement and a great deal of hay and food mixed in, torn cardboard and paper, toys, and blankets. A wet, long blue blanket is stretched across a dark, mucky patch.

One howler monkey is in a cage where a tower of excrement stands on a wood climbing area. A dirty and wet soft toy dog sits in a mucky puddle. Generally it is best for primates to have large playing structures (such as high, hand-over-hand tracks and suspended swings which the viewer will see), not smaller items which can be ingested, lie on the ground, tend to get soiled within minutes of being placed with primates, can be difficult to remove from the primates' enclosures, and can be hazardous when wet and soiled and then bitten or used as wraps by primates.

As Stephen Tello speaks at the close of the tape, a large, crunched plastic PET bottle and miscellaneous debris can be seen near a chimpanzee. This enclosure's entire floor is scattered with wet hay, paper debris, excrement, urine, and toys.

In footage also taken in the first 48 hours, some interior areas connected to enclosures appear not to have been cleaned in several days. Stephen Tello explains, "The whole outdoor area just looks trashed and unclean as if it hadn't been cleaned in many days, and the same is true of some of the indoor connections. We've made good headway and we'll keep the public and our supporters posted. We've had a barrage of questions and requests for interviews, and I've not had much time to respond, but I hope this video will help to answer. Thank you for understanding that the actual site maintenance is our first priority this month, because it's a matter of immediate health and safety of our residents here."

Narrated by Stephen Rene Tello for Primarily Primates
Bexar County, Texas
1 May 2007
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Thank you so much for what you are doing to clean up the mess ...

[More details to follow soon...] Hello, all. I'm at PPI now and it's raining, so I just came inside to write you a note of thanks. I am delighted with the outpouring of support we've received from people who share our desire and commitment to see Primarily Primates and all of its residents flourish. Workers here have done an amazing job of cleaning up in just three weeks. Priscilla Feral, President, Friends of Animals

ya i like these u should have more information about these chimps in here!!!!!

Update from the refuge: When our team of caregivers entered the property on 1 May 2007, just after the receivership ended, the bob cats, servals and cougars were underweight. Food adjustments have put weight on them. The receivership had a contract for Nebraska horsemeat which we've discontinued. As for the primates: Tina was preparing produce in the morning -- pears, apples, sweet potatoes, broccoli, raw corn, strawberries and grapes (even foxes love grapes) for the lemurs, the gibbon, siamang and also the patas monkeys. The caregivers are serving the food differently so that the lemurs are all getting to it. Toot is the one howler monkey left. Howler monkeys are sensitive to change and stress. The other howler, Scoot, died during the receivership. The veterinarian is here, and explained to me that Toot is underweight, is not eating well, and has diarrhoea. Tests are being run to check for abnormal gut flora or internal parasites. Tamarins don't adjust well to change either. So, in the wake of an abrupt takeover last autumn, the tamarins didn't fare well. On 1 May there were five tamarins who were sickly, with their coats oily and unkempt. One, named Popcorn, was hyperglycemic, and was taken for special observation and feedings, and just yesterday was returned to the tamarin area. As a group, they are still underweight, according to the veterinarian when we talked yesterday. But their caregiver Rebecca says they're all eating well, no loose stools so it appears they're improving. The tamarins are enthusiastic about their food. Under the receivership the regular water pressure system was taken apart, and gasoline powered pressure washers are noisy, so this causes stress for the tamarins. The vet says that reducing stress, eliminating inside parasites, and a return to a balanced diet will likely help the tamarins. The chimpanzee Uriah had been integrated into a group, and the receivership's crew created a problem by feeding a group of males improperly, which set off a dominance dispute. Uri's face was badly injured (ripped from nose to lip; this has now healed). Then the receivership's crew made the mistake of moving Uri with a group of three juveniles (aged 5-7) and two females, Tina and Jewel. Uri dislikes Jewel and the youngsters, Deeter and Champ. Tina is afraid of Uri, and Jewel won't accept food and medications if Uri is there. A current priority is to move Uri back to his former group. Sad to say that more than 50 percent of the birds are gone if you include geese, swans, and peacocks. Priscilla

A wonderful job. If no one on this earth commends your team, be assured that when you stand before the living God, your kindness and love for his creations will not go without reward.

Hello Priscilla and Francesco T, Can you tell me "where" is the horse and the two chinese crested among the many that are not been mentioned? When Priscilla mentioned that half of the birds are gone... are they gone to another refuge? or are they gone to "needle heaven" It would be very sad to find out that the animals were taken away from the premises only to be euthanized. And if so, WHO was the veterinarian in charge of this action? ... I am hoping that those animals that are not well at this time will recover, and tranquility is back to the place. Animals do thrive in a peaceful environment. Thanks for your time to take questions from the public. [Blog editors' note: This is a very important question. We are currently working to trace all of the missing residents. We know many went to the Houston SPCA which has yet to make detailed information available in reponse to our queries.]

Pleaz keep updating us on ur progess!

Recently I acquired several animals because i feared they'd be harmed, there are a total of 11 animals in my care with just one other caretaker besides me. There are times when this is extremely overwhelming, and it has caused me to question things whereas before i staunchly defended PPI. My concern is this, PPI had an extremely small staff to meet the needs of approx. 600 animals. I hope the number of caretakers/staff will now increase tenfold? [Blog editors' note: The staff has been augmented, Susan, but more important, it has been strengthened. For there is no magic number of caregivers that will ensure excellent care. The most important factor is the integrity and dedication of each member of the staff and each volunteer. People have come to pitch in because they want to make a positive difference for the refuge, believe in its best potential, and work to make it happen. Also critical is the skill set made available by the staff and volunteers. Veterinarian Valerie Kirk is at the refuge 4-5 days a week at this time and Stephen Tello has remarkable energy and is a continuous presence. Friends of Animals' Priscilla Feral is constantly on the move between Connecticut and Texas. Work to meet both immediate and future needs is being carried out, and the two headquarters are in constant contact throughout the weekdays and the weekends as well. We need support; the refuge needs a new vehicle. Please chip in if you can. Thanks for your caring thoughts.]


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