Meet Nala

Beautiful Nala arrived at the Born Free Primate Sanctuary as part of a group of 29 hybrid long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques rescued from the bankrupt Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio. Nala is large for her species and is the only full-blooded pig-tailed macaque in the group.

Born sometime in the late Nineties, Nala originally was sold as a "pet" to a private owner in California who had her for about four years before giving her up. Early accounts of her introduction to a more normal monkey life are not available, but it appears as though Nala adapted very quickly to comparative freedom and the sometimes intense social life of her kind.

Due to uncontrolled breeding at the time, Nala gave birth over the years to four females and two males. The youngest, Natalya, was born last June, and though very young she is extremely inquisitive and benefits from being reared by such an excellent mother. Natalya's little mohawk can be seen from across the enclosure, and due to Nala's high rank she gets away with just about everything a monkey can.

Though Nala has a sweet disposition there is no doubt about her alpha position, and her leadership is vitally important to the stability of the group. When Nala communicates through body language or vocalizations, everyone stops what they're doing and immediately responds to her direction. Only Pilot, the alpha male, has more authority.

Her life as a solitary pet in a cage far behind her, Nala enjoys all types of fresh food and spends her days lounging in the shade or sitting by the pool while her offspring cavort around her, Queen for life.