Foster Growing Up 8th April 2013

Not very much progress on the Kirsty and Katrina front, these are our two Rhesus macaque female’s, thrown together by the death of Pani. Although they are now living, violence free, in the same pen, you couldn’t say they were friends as they manage to ignore each other completely.

Foster has made great strides in his behaviour, if not in gaining weight. He had never played properly with any of the other babies up till now, or mixed with Puck and Phooka, the two biggest males of the ‘baby’ troop. The first big step was playing with Major who is about the same age although much stronger and chunkier than Foster. When in the pen Foster used to sit and wait to be ‘rescued’, sleep or eat. A few days ago we spotted him running and jumping around and our first thought was that Major was bullying him, so we kept a very close eye on them. It was soon, much to our delight seen that they were in fact playing and they’ve hardly stopped since. Now he’s learnt or remembered how to play and obviously feels up to it we were able to introduce him to Puck and Phooka, who are 2-3 years old and much bigger. They were very sweet to him and wanted to cuddle him all the time, Foster too reacted very well to there attentions and we were soon able to leave them all together unobserved. The next step forward that Foster took on his own initiative was staying out in the pen overnight. Over the months we have had him, come 6pm he was eagerly waiting for rescue and he was brought indoors for the night and for extra feeding and attention. 

Evie in Bed with her toy monkey after he learnt to play again and made friends with the others he was less and less keen to leave them at teatime, and one night refused to come out, holding on to the mesh and resisting all attempts to shift him! We checked on him regularly the first night but he settled into one of the sleeping barrels with Major and was not fretting at all. Progress indeed.

Ella and Evie unfortunately although much older than Foster, haven’t reach this stage yet. This is of course because they were hand reared from tiny babies and don’t have a wild past to refer to, like Foster. Although they now stay in the pen till dark, the first sign of a ‘rescue’ and they are at the doors calling, then dash upstairs to bed where they snuggle down for the night with ‘mum’. I have to remind myself it wasn’t that long ago they wouldn’t even stay in the pen unless I sat inside with them.

Large female Monitor Lizard new arrivals from the forestry department, thankfully not more monkeys, but two monitor lizards, to be acclimatised and then released here, as we adjoin some reasonably wild areas and a big river where they should be safe from human interference. One, a mature female is some 6 ft long, the other just 2 ft long. They were both rescued from humans. The smaller one had fallen down a newly dug cesspit and was unable to climb out. The big female was disturbed by builders when clearing land, for yet more humans, and when she ran off they all joined in pursuit with shovels, sticks and angle iron bars to kill her. Luckily a lady in the next house saw them and dashed out to protect her, threatening to phone the police if they touched her again. Monitor lizards present no threat to humans who leave them alone. Very naturally they are terrified of the whole human race.

Wild cat in cage on the wild cat problem, some progress, against the odds. The ginger male, an ex pet left loose at our gate is still hanging around, and not yet neutered . A tabby tom, half wild and very aggressive towards our cats went into the cat trap I set. A helpful member of staff, who thought that it was just one of our own cats let him out before I could load him into the car to go for neutering! Against the odds he went back into the trap a few days later and has now been castrated and released. Hopefully he will quieten down and stop harassing our females. Now that he’s been done, I hope to catch the ginger one next. He is getting quite friendly and knows exactly when it’s cat feeding time, but is far too wary to pick up or as yet, go into the cat trap.


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