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Season of Plenty
Katie the rhesus macaque once was a pet but now lives at Mindy's Memory.
Photo by LORI DUCKWORTH
Oklahomans looking to give back during the holidays need look no further than these nonprofit organizations doing good work to help others at home.
By Karlie Tipton
Published November/December 2016
A Newcastle sanctuary offers former lab monkeys, pets, and roadside attractions a chance at a better life.
Newcastle may be about as far from the jungle as it’s possible to get, but for more than eighty monkeys at Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary, life in Oklahoma is the closest they’ve ever been to living as nature intended. The thirteen species the sanctuary currently homes—bonnet macaques, patas, and capuchins, to name a few—come mostly from labs, roadside zoos, or the pet trade, all of which can be cruel.
“Mikey, a stump-tailed macaque, had an owner who would shoot him with blow darts for fun, so he has such severe nerve damage in his legs that his toes are permanently curled over,” says sanctuary manager Darren Tindell.
Although there are dozens of stories like Mikey’s, these monkeys are lucky, because they, unlike many other captive primates, are not euthanized but given a chance to thrive at Mindy’s Memory. Tindell and the four other onsite employees select the monkeys best fit to live together—thus providing companionship—and a personalized enrichment program for each resident. After living their first ten or twenty years in a tiny cage, the Newcastle monkeys can never live in the wild, but Mindy’s Memory offers them the best alternative.
“They finally get time to actually be monkeys,” Tindell says.
HOW TO HELP: Mindy’s Memory offers several ways to help, including their Sponsor-A-Monkey program, an Amazon wish list, and an Amazon Smile account. Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary, (405) 387-4354 or mindysmemory.org.