Monkey Business

One of the highlights for me of our second stay in Palm Harbor was a fairly spur of the moment visit to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary with Aunt Doris and a friend of hers who had come up from Naples for the day.
Back story 1: we had ridden past this place on our previous stay when we rode to Tarpon Springs and a bit beyond, and I had been lucky enough to glimpse some of the chimpanzees in their enclosures through the trees. Backstory 2: Angie and her dad had their hearts set on going to the pinball museum on this day. It wasn’t that I was completely uninterested, I just wasn’t super-motivated to go. I had figured I would spend the afternoon kicking back with Rebbe, taking a walk and reading a book. However, Doris’ friend had arrived while Angie and I had been out running an errand. She and Doris had decided that they were going to visit the primate sanctuary. Henry had told them he wouldn’t be surprised if I wanted to go with them.
When we got back to the house, Doris floated the idea and it totally said hello to me. We went to lunch with Angie and her dad at Mr. Souvlaki’s again (Uncle Bill and the husband of Judy, Doris’ friend, were off doing their own thing). Once lunch was over, we went our separate ways. Doris drove us to the sanctuary and although it was pretty cold we had a nice visit there. The place has all sorts of rescued animals, primarily primates but also reptiles and several large tropical birds. Some of the chimpanzees and orangutans were as old as fifty or sixty and the owners and managers of the sanctuary were committed to giving the creatures as good and true a life as possible. We were quite taken by Pongo, who you can see on this web page and is huge! His hands were twice as big as human hands. We spent a fair amount of time listening to one of the Noell family, whose forebears had started the place, talking about their values and what they were trying to achieve at the sanctuary. One thing she said was that they really don’t go in the enclosures or approach the animals if they can avoid it, since they can’t predict what the animals will do. The point was to let the animals live out their lives, not just as show pieces, and to respect the power of the creatures. The woman was very passionate about their mission and about some of the opposition organizations like hers face. I’m glad we went.

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