A big bonus for the animals over Christmas, when lots of frozen chickens were donated for the rescued dogs and cats. Even when the freezers at the rescue centre were full, there were several sacks left over for our freezer. I found that the pressure cooker I had bought over from England was now being used by the staff for boiling the monkeys sweet potatoes, with both the rubber seal and pressure plug both long ago discarded. Moaning about the imagined expense and difficulty of the replacements, I actually found a shop in the local town selling the parts, and the cost? Just over a pound.
With the first batch boiled, boned and ready, the dogs were all on standby having smelt the telltale odour of real meat; they usually get soya chunks, healthy but not fully appreciated. The cats have the inexpensive little fish from the local market, but buying it is a task I dislike, as I don’t like to support the trade even in a small way, particularly when so many baby sharks, even the endangered hammerheads are on sale here, and probably other rare or protected species as well.
Christmas Presents the dogs of course fell into there unexpected Christmas treat, but none of the cats were even prepared to taste it, and even after two days of no fish, only the very greedy ones will eat any, and that very reluctantly. They clearly don’t recognise that meat is a food, so I am forced back to buy at the fish market again.
Tytti, a valued volunteer here, made extra treats for all the monkeys for Christmas. They get a small amount of peanut butter, puffed rice, sunflower seeds etc, wrapped in a roll of cardboard or a plastic bottle all stuck up with parcel tape so it takes them a lot of time and effort to get in. She even made up some properly wrapped parcels for them and they also loved having the shiny paper to play with.
Tilly, the Monkey in the Mirror Tom, another long term volunteer arrived from England for xmas and brought the monkeys some unbreakable mirrors. These he is mounting on wood to hang up in the pens. The first trial was with Tufty and Preston, and at the time of writing they are still fascinated with there image nearly an hour later and arguing whose turn to look it is! They have all had mirrors before but only not very clear plastic baby toy ones, or hung outside the cage as they were glass, where they didn’t have any control over what they could see. This clear and movable version seems to be a big hit.
Flash the Squirrel Flash the squirrel is now more than ready for a slow release into the wild, but as yet I haven’t found anyone willing to take him, who doesn’t have at least one resident cat. He needs to have access to his cage, while being able to go outside freely during the day and get used to what there is to eat and what the dangers are, until he has the confidence to leave home. He is now about one third the size of an adult male and heavy enough to move the keys on the computers keyboard and has bought up screens and messages I have never even seen before, and often the only way I can get back to work on it after his ‘dancing on the keys’ is to turn the whole thing off!
More relaxed lavendar Kia and Lavender, the two newest rescues, continue to make progress. Kia will now go for a walk with one of our staff and also a long standing volunteer. She hates to be left alone when Nora goes out and cries out loudly and piteously. They couldn’t go together for a while as Nora was becoming jealous of her getting any attention, let alone treats, and was attacking her over the slightest thing. In the pen they get on really well as Nora is glad of the female company also she likes being in charge, and is happy making a great fuss of her. Just lately, Nora has got a little better and is beginning to tolerate her outside the pen, but we still need to keep a sharp eye on her. Sharing is not an easy or natural concept to a monkey.
Lavender is more relaxed when out with John and even seems to like having a look round at the other monkeys, although she doesn’t think much of the dogs charging about.