We waited for them near the new enclosure as we made the final touches on the climbing structures and, at 10:00 a.m. on Sep. 17, 2013, they arrived. Nine female baboons peered out of their transport crates with anxious, pale face - their curious dark eyes absorbing every movement and sound.
A result of a collaborative effort between the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary and a large laboratory, these baboons were the lucky ones and would have the opportunity to live the remainder of their lives in a sanctuary. This doesn't happen very often, as almost all primates utilized in research are humanely killed without ever experiencing the feeling of grass underfoot, or the calming sensation of picking leaves from a tree, or the liberating act of jumping from limb to limb in a rush of excitement. But, thanks to Born Free USA and everyone at the laboratory who was involved with the baboons' care, nine would have the chance.
As each transport crate was aligned with the guillotine gate that led to freedom, it would rock slightly as the girl inside moved about, trying to get a better look at what was to come. A few of the baboon girls hesitated when the door was opened and took their time to examine the new surroundings before walking out calmly, but most appeared to fly out of the crate, eager to escape confinement and ready for whatever was next.