The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good For The Authorities For Doing Thier Job! Baboon, Suzie Taken From Private Owner

INDEPENDENCE - Suzie the baboon has a new home in a central Kentucky wildlife center after an anonymous tip prompted Kenton County authorities to remove the 31-pound primate from an Independence couple's home.

"Suzie's not stopped eating since she got here," said April Truitt, executive director of the Primate Rescue Center Inc. in Nicholasville. "I've never seen an animal consume so much in one sitting."

Kenton County animal control officers responded to a home in the 3100 block of Mills Road Thursday after an anonymous caller to the county's emergency dispatch center said that "someone was keeping an orangutan" at their home.

When animal control officers responded, they called Truitt after finding a baboon caged in the couple's garage. Because the owners willingly gave up the animal, they were not charged under a county law that prohibits keeping exotic animals as pets, said Dan Evans, director of the Kenton County Animal Shelter.

"The animal was getting older, and I was told that the owners were concerned about the animal because it was getting aggressive," said Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson.

Evans said the couple told animal control officers that the baboon had spent most of her 24 years in cages in their basement and garage.

Baboons typically live 35 to 40 years in captivity, and their life span is about half that in the wild, Truitt said.

"Suzie's owner said they didn't have any children and this was basically their child," Evans said. "The guy kept mentioning (the former TV show) 'BJ and the Bear.' He told me he didn't want to have any kids because kids talk back."

In 2005, Kentucky passed a law that banned people from keeping primates and other wild animals as pets, but grandfathered in existing pets such as Suzie. However, Kenton, Boone and Jefferson counties passed their own ordinances that forbid keeping exotic animals as pets, Truitt said.

The baboon's owners told authorities that they purchased Suzie at age 5½ months from a Cincinnati dealer.

Truitt said Suzie has lost some teeth and is about five to eight pounds underweight for her 3½- to 4-foot length.

"I'm sure that on some level, Suzie's owners loved her," Truitt said. "But she was in a cage in the garage, which, although spacious, was dark and not very clean. Probably, worst of all, she was in social isolation. She had not seen another monkey since she was jerked from her mother at birth."

There's also the safety issue.

Last February, a 200-pound chimpanzee kept as a pet by a Connecticut resident critically injured a woman, ripping off her hands, nose, lips and eyelids. The woman has spent months undergoing reconstructive surgeries.

Like chimpanzees, baboons can hurt or kill humans, Truitt said.

The 22-year-old, non-profit Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville has evolved into a nationally recognized sanctuary housing more than 50 primates, including 11 chimpanzees, its Web site says. Primates come from a variety of sources, including private owners and research laboratories. The center's mission includes placing primates in other sanctuaries or appropriate facilities, working to end the trade in primates, both in the U.S. and abroad, and educating the public on the plight of primates caught in the breeder/dealer cycle.

"The Tristate area is not the place for an exotic animal like this," Evans said. "If you want to see a baboon, go to the zoo or their natural habitat."


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