Ape Sanctuary In Summerville Damaged By Hurricane Matthew

Ape Sanctuary In Summerville Damaged By Hurricane Matthew

Did you know there is a sanctuary for apes and otters in the Charleston area?

Just outside of Charleston, South Carolina in the suburbs of Summerville nestled in a wooded area unknown to many residents of the area is a sanctuary that is home to apes. You read that right: apes living in a protected environment rescued from labs, zoos or given up by people who thought it would be fun to own a "monkey." If you are in the area and listen closely you can hear the sound of singing and whooping coming from the residents of the sanctuary.

The International Primate Protection League has its headquarters and sanctuary in Summerville, South Carolina complete with about 37 gibbons and six otters. Gibbons are classified as small apes. They live in family groups and mate with one partner (they are monogamous apes). Some of the happy couples include E.T. and Donny, Tong and Gibby, Ahisma and Elizabeth and several others.The otters are rescues as well and love to entertain the gibbons.Here are pictures of three of the residents.

Elizabeth, Dorothy, and Arun-Rangsi.

I had the opportunity to visit the sanctuary as part of a volunteer group a few years ago. Visitors are not allowed to roam the sanctuary as they would at a zoo because this is a home for the animals that have been rescued. These animals are not able to survive in the wild so this special place has become their home. The gibbons have a unique caging system that allows them to have a wide range to play, swing in the trees and eat fruit to their heart's content. I was amazed watching them in their home, and I loved giving them banana and mangos.

I also had the privilege of meeting Dr. Shirley McGreal, OBE, founder and director of the International Primate Protection League. She is passionate about this work and has been involved in primate protection and rescue for many years. Jane Goodall has even praised her work (see her message on the web page). I met Dr. McGreal in the small administrative office with a couple of the large dogs that live at the sanctuary as well. She was gracious and took time to show the volunteers around the site and introduce us to the apes.

During Hurricane Matthew, a good deal of damage was done to the sanctuary and they are currently working to restore and repair the damage. Because of the precautions and well-built houses, all the animals were safe. If you would like more information or might even want to volunteer or adopt a gibbon, I highly recommend it. You can read about the International Primate Protection League and Dr. Shirley on their website or on Facebook.

Cover Image Credit: International Primate Protection League

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.

I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.


As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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