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You can make a difference. You can help keep our monkeys healthy and happy. All it takes is a small donation.
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10th Anniversary of Darwin's arrival

As I often say, we never know when or where our next monkey or lemur is going to come from.  Unbelievably, this month it is 10 years since Darwin, a Japanese macaque, exploded on to the social media scene wearing his iconic shearling coat and a diaper as he walked around a parking lot at an IKEA store in Toronto.  This was during the relatively early days of social media and Darwin quickly became a world-wide sensation.
So much has happened in the intervening years.
The gates to the Sanctuary.

Saving the Sanctuary

Three years later, in 2015, the founder of the sanctuary decided to sell this property with no intention of continuing to care for the monkeys.  The Board had to quickly take charge to ensure the safety of the animals and to guarantee that they would receive the long-term care they deserved.  We had to secure funding to enable us to purchase the sanctuary property or, as a less appealing option, to find a new property.  The second option was not ideal – not only having to sedate all the monkeys in order to move them but also having to build enclosures for 20 monkeys and lemurs to move into.  Where would we move?  Building new enclosures is a time-consuming expensive venture.  The monkeys’ lives depended on us.  However, time was not on our side.  We just had to raise enough funds to purchase the existing property.  This was an incredibly stressful period but our mantra was:  Failure is not an option.
In the end we were successful in our fundraising endeavours, thanks to you.  The monkeys would remain safe and none the wiser regarding the stress of guaranteeing them a long-term home.  They come to the sanctuary through no fault of their own.  It is our responsibility to provide them a better life.
Darwin in the grass

Darwin's evolution

When Darwin arrived, he was a very shy, little monkey – barely 6 months old.   He was likely bred in captivity specifically for the exotic animal trade and ripped from his mother’s arms the moment he was born.   This is so that, in theory, baby monkeys will bond with their owners more readily.  This is incredibly cruel – monkeys, primates like us, need to be with their mothers for the first few years of their lives.  If not, it usually leads to self-harm, as the babies try to cope with the loss of their mother.   The mothers also suffer; as breeding females they are constantly forced to give birth as their babies are taken away from them. 

Darwin was given constant care at the sanctuary and bonded particularly with two of our long-term volunteers.  “Baby Dar” was also surrounded by other monkeys – perhaps helping him realise that he too was a monkey.  It was a very different life for him – no longer being dressed in clothes, no longer being forced to go places on the end of a leash, no longer having to wear a diaper.
Darwin today.

Darwin's legacy

Darwin was “awarded” to the sanctuary because of Canada’s property law.  Legally he was viewed as property and not as a sentient being.  He had the same rights as a table.  It is disappointing that in the last 10 years there has been very little change in the laws governing the ownership of exotic animals in Canada.  The story of Darwin has made very little difference.  Fortunately, there is finally some potential development at the federal level – the Jane Goodall Act that is now before the Senate.  This bill aims to further animal rights in Canada and to prevent wild animals from suffering in captivity.  Passing of the Bill would restrict the ownership of over 800 species of wild animals effectively ending the existence of unregulated roadside zoos, where most of the monkeys and lemurs we care for come from.
George's Haven

George's Haven

Many of you were instrumental in helping us fund a new building for the ‘Group of 9’ monkeys and lemurs who were seized from St. Edouard Zoo (in Quebec) because of abuse and neglect.  The owner of the zoo was the first in Canadian history to be charged and arrested.  We were able to build ‘George’s Haven’ in collaboration with Humane Society International because of donations made by you.
Bruno before and after


More recently we have made room for Bruno, an olive baboon and 2 lemurs yet to be named.  They came from Bervie Zoological Park (an unregulated roadside zoo in Ontario) because of unsatisfactory housing.  Bruno lived in a dark hole with no access to the outdoors where the ammonia levels were dangerously high.  They were all brought to us because we can and do provide the care that they need.
Stevie - our latest rescue


Last week we received a newborn squirrel monkey not even 36 hours old. His mother had died during childbirth and we took on the responsibility of looking after him and feeding him 24/7. Thanks to our devoted staff and volunteers, we feed him every 2 hours and make sure he is kept warm and cozy as we try to approximate what his mother would have done to keep him alive. 
He is almost two weeks old but still he spends most of his time in an incubator. He is alert and gaining weight every day and gaining strength as he holds onto his surrogate stuffie.
We've named him Stevie and we hope he will grow up to be a strong (still little) monkey who will hopefully be a terrific companion for Rudy.
Darwin grooming Lexy

Happy Holidays

I realise that at this time of year everyone is inundated with requests for donations.  Some of you came to support us at our wonderful comedy show fundraiser in November, others gave on Giving Tuesday and many of you have already made generous donations to the sanctuary throughout the year.  We are extremely grateful for your support during these difficult times.  You make it possible for us to do what we do.  We hope that we can continue with our work until we are no longer needed. 
From our Board, staff and volunteers we wish you health and happiness during this season of celebration and hope you are able to celebrate with family and friends.
Warmest holiday wishes.

Thank you.

Daina Liepa
Executive Director

P.S. The full text of the direct mail newsletter is available here.
Thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for being part of the Story Book family. 
Copyright ©2015 SBFPS, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
C2315 Concession 10 Rd, Sunderland, ON, L0C 1H0
Phone: 416-816-4800
Registered charity #:840817910RR0001 

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Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary · 2315 Concession 10, RR#3 · Sunderland, Ontario L0C 1H0 · Canada

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