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DILLEY-- The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley has been renamed and reorganized twice in 40 years, but it's been around since 1972.

It's a 186-acre sanctuary with 13 baboons, 600 macaques and 4 vervets. Tuesday it added nine more baboons to the mix.

Pearl, Missy, Chloe, April, Friendly, Spicy, Brooke, Kennedy and Lulu are enjoying five 20' X 20' covered areas. Soon, they'll be released into a half-acre enclosure. The long-term goal is to place them in a 2.5 acre enclosure with 10 other baboons, but that could take years according to Director Tim Ajax.

They have never before lived as a group and were housed singly for most of their lives, said Ajax. We would love them all to be together but there are social and logistical adjustments ahead for them and we need to go at their pace.

Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, called the baboons the lucky nine.

We are ecstatic that we can give them a life of grass, trees, ponds, exercise, proper food and medical care, said Roberts. However, every day wild animals need to be rescued from 'pet owners', laboratories, roadside zoos, and other abusive circumstances.

Born Free USA estimates 13 percent of its primate population consists of monkeys previously used in research. Most would have been humanely killed if it weren't for the sanctuary.

Sanctuaries are filled to capacity, costly to run, and are the only aid we can give these animals, said Roberts.

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