Also in September 1987, Jessamine County’s Clay Miller answered a newspaper ad to purchase a crab-eating macaque — Gizmo — for his future wife, April Truitt.
That purchase and the subsequent research that followed gave birth to the Jessamine County-based Primate Rescue Center. PRC sits on 35 acres of land near Wilmore.
Though PRC wasn’t incorporated until 1996, it has been taking in primates for 25 years. On May 19, PRC plans to celebrate its and Gizmo’s “birthdays” during its 10th annual member event, assistant director Jenny Compton said.
“We are going to have a big birthday celebration at our member event,” Compton said. “(Gizmo’s) area is going to be decorated with balloons and things like that.”
The member event will run from 1-4 p.m.
Compton said PRC isn’t open to the public because the center wants to make sure the primates are living in as much of a stress-free environment as possible. But the annual member event allows those who support the center a chance to see what their money is going toward.
“It’s the only time of the year we are open to our members,” Compton said. “We are a closed sanctuary; we feel that the primates and monkeys that come here have been traumatized enough already in their lives.”
The member event is an invitation-only event, Compton said.
“We are completely funded by individual members; we do not receive any government funding,” she said.
During the member event, there will be a wish list allowing members to see the items PRC needs.
That list will include toys for the primates, Compton said.
“They like their toys,” she said. “Toys can be plastic slides like the Little Tikes that are used for preschool-aged children, and balls. But they have to be sturdy balls like basketballs and footballs because they like to bite (the balls).”
In addition to toys, needs exist for items such as nuts with shells and popcorn.
According to its website, for 25 years, the mission of PRC has been to alleviate the suffering of primates by:
• providing sanctuary or referral to appropriate facilities.
• working to end the trade in primates both in the United States and abroad.
• educating the public to the plight of primates caught in the breeder/dealer cycle.
• assisting researchers and zoo personnel in finding appropriate placement for surplus primates.
• encouraging compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws and animal welfare statutes.
Earlier this year, PRC received accreditation from The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
The accreditation means PRC meets the comprehensive definition of a true sanctuary and is providing humane and responsible care of the primates, meeting rigorous and peer-reviewed standards for operations, administration and veterinary care established by GFAS.
For more information on the Primate Rescue Center, including information on how to become a member or to view its wish list, visit www.primaterescue.org or call 859-858-4866.