October BaboonFest offers public rare opportunity to visit baboon sanctuary

The residents of Peaceable Primate Sanctuary enjoy their retirement days relaxing, grooming and foraging in the large enclosure. The sanctuary provides some items for the residents to forage for but with the new large open top enclosure the animals can forage naturally amongst the trees and grass.
Greg Hildebrand
Managing Editor

The employees of Peaceable Primate Sanctuary are getting excited about the third annual BaboonFest Oct. 14. If the residents are anxious they are hiding it really well.
Peaceable Primate Sanctuary is a retirement home of sorts for baboons and recently a new building for macaques.
A large open top area has also been added to the sanctuary recently. This area with a tall electric fence encloses a half acre that can be split into two areas allowing for a couple of groups or troops of baboons to forage, climb, run and just be baboons.
All these animals have either been research animals, exotic pets or in the case of one pair of baboons part of a road side zoo in Oklahoma. All the primates at the sanctuary have been raised in captivity but here at the sanctuary they are given the opportunity to behave as they would in the wild.
Scott Kubisch, the director and founder of the sanctuary, talked about the opportunity the new space gives these animals to behave more like the wild animals they are. "This is the kind of space these animals deserve," Kubisch said.
The new macaque building was built with help from a couple of groups. Bob Barker's DJ&T Foundation helped with funding the building. NAVS also helps fund capital projects at the sanctuary.
The new building is already near capacity and an addition, that was planned for, will begin construction soon.
"Getting capital for projects and expansion is not the difficult part," said Kubisch, "we always need help with the day to day expenses."
Keeping the animals fed, healthy and providing for their daily enrichment are all expenses that go into running the facility. Employee salaries for the couple of employees also are part of that daily expense.
That is where the events like BaboonFest help out. Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. the sanctuary will open their doors to visitors to come out and see how the animals are cared for, tour the facilities and learn how to support their mission. Adults are charged $10 while school age kids will be admitted free.
There will be music, food, beverages and of course baboons for visitors to observe.
The residents have provided some of their best artwork for a raffle.
The sanctuary is located at 6415 N 800 W, Winamac. The sanctuary is not normally open for visitors which is what makes BaboonFest so special. If you have any questions their phone number is 574-896-0590.