Part of being a voice for the world’s overlooked primates means searching out sympathetic hearts and minds.

The past two weekends, IPPL staff and volunteers have been spreading the word about primates as victims of trafficking and abuse at two major animal rights conferences, both held in Washington, D.C.: Taking Action for Animals (TAFA), sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, and this year’s National Animal Rights Conference (AR2012), organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement.

HSUS might be best known as an advocate for American wildlife and companion animals, while FARM is focused on educating the public about the evils of factory farming. Still, supporters of both causes stopped by the IPPL booths to learn about our gibbon sanctuary and the overseas help we provide to primate rescue centers located in habitat countries. Visitors were especially touched by the recent tragic death of Rita Miljo at her South African baboon sanctuary and contributed generously to our requests for donations to benefit Rita’s organization.

Crab-eating macaque

Crab-eating macaques are the world’s most commonly traded primate. In 2009, the one-millionth (documented) macaque was exported from her native habitat.

IPPL Board member Helen Thirlway and Shirley McGreal also gave a good intro presentation at AR2012 about “Cutting Off the Source: Ending the Capture, Transport, and Trade in Primates.” They spoke about the rise in the international trade of crab-eating macaques (a.k.a. long-tailed macaques), especially from Cambodian forests and monkey farms. These so-called “common” monkeys are becoming increasingly rare, as they are removed from their natural habitat in alarming numbers to supply biomedical labs. The presentation drew heavily on research and investigations by zoologist Keri Cairns, whom IPPL sent to Cambodia for a “ground truthing” expedition earlier this year.

Many thanks to all our helpful conference volunteers, including Paige…

Paige at TAFA 2012

Our “staff monkey” Paige, the daughter of IPPL staffer Tina McCoy, enticed visitors to our TAFA literature table with banana treats.

…our long-time volunteer and zoo guru Susan…

Susan and Shirley at AR2012

Susan Parker (far right, standing next to Shirley) checks out the amazing variety of animal advocacy groups at the AR2012 exhibit hall, including these friends from Animal Aid Unlimited in India. IPPL collaborated with this group this past spring to provide improved housing for a blind rhesus monkey.

…and faithful IPPL supporter/novice juggler/cat lover (x 18!) William…

William Morrison at AR2012

William Morrison (fashionably attired in an IPPL gibbon T-shirt!) picks up a new skill near the AR2012 registration desk.

…who helped us staff our literature tables.

At the concluding plenary of AR2012, long-time activist Debra Erenberg shared a beautiful quote from Indian author Arundhati Roy, one that speaks to our hope for a future when our efforts will have succeeded, a future when all primates—human and nonhuman alike—can share this planet with dignity:

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”