Primate Sanctuary In The Kiln Is The Only One In The State

Mississippi's only primate sanctuary is located on the Gulf Coast. The Annabelle Home for monkeys is nestled on two acres of land in the Kiln community in Hancock County.

When lunch time rolls around at Annabelle's Primate Sanctuary, you'll find 12 monkeys six different species. Most spend their days in cages.

And then there is Annabelle who roams the property freely. That's only fair since the place is named after her. Annabelle is a rare stump tailed macaque.

"Stumped-tail macaque's are so rare even in captivity there are only two maybe in American zoos that we know of, and there are very few in captivity other than research centers," Barbara Healy, the sanctuary's president, said.

National Geographic will feature Annabelle in an up coming television documentary. You might call the sanctuary an orphanage of sorts; the monkeys are brought to the facility when they have no where else to go.

"Some were breeders, and when they get past the breading age they are discarded. Some were from private owners who just can't financially or physically take care of them any more. Some come from intelligent testing programs," Healy said.

The primate sanctuary is not a zoo. By law, the animals can't be exhibited or bread. It's simply a place the monkey's can call home.

"We do this because they are a wonderful intelligent species that does a lot for us. They're used a lot in medical research, and they've made great discoveries from these animals that save human lives, and I believe that we owe them at least a life of peace and care."

But that doesn't come cheap. It costs the organization between $20,000 to $30,000 a year to feed, shelter and provide medical care. That's why the sanctuary welcomes tax deductible donations of fresh fruits and vegetables and building materials.

The sanctuary can not exhibit the animals, so it has to raise money to care for them through donations. If you can help Annabelle's Primate Sanctuary you can call 255-0683 or e-mail the sanctuary at

By Al Showers