Wednesday, February 6, 2013

International Primate Rescue

Five new volunteers arrived last night and, as if to welcome them, the heavens opened and the roof leaked. Even buckets couldn’t stop the deluge from flooding the walkway to the kitchen and the communal dining area. Fortunately by this morning, it had dried up.

If you’re wondering why the roof is in such bad shape, such is the nature of living quarters here at IPR. International Primate Rescue founder and owner, Sue originally had a small sanctuary up in Polokwane, about three hours north of here. She rented a property which meant constantly needing to find new rentals every six months or so, and as much as you may think that moving is a pain in the neck, imaging moving with monkeys! Eventually she and her husband made the decision to buy some land closer to Pretoria, but to do that, they needed money. And so, they left the monkeys in the care of a friend and moved to England where they spent five years working and saving. Five years doing something you don’t really want to do in a place you don’t want to be, but knowing the goal at the end – that is dedication.

The mortgage on the land is nearly paid off, but since it is not open to the public and donations are very few and far between, IPR relies entirely on volunteers and their volunteer fees for funding. As Sue explained when she showed me around, it is a constant juggling act for paying bills. My program fees are helping to build an enclosure so that Brandi, a new monkey, can be helped. Brandi is in a pretty dire situation, currently being kept on a very short leash by her owners. She is very dangerous and if IPR doesn’t take her by a certain date, she faces euthanization.

So that sums up one of the difficulties of running a sanctuary. Just when you might start to pay off a few bills, you get a call about an animal that will be euthanized if you can’t find room for them. And that is something Sue aims to avoid if at all possible.

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