Infatuation 7th April 2009

It has taken several weeks, but Pani is now infatuated with Kirsty, in fact he has recently opted to miss his swim and meeting with his best friend ‘Spock’ in favour of staying in the pen with Kirsty. At three years old he is not yet sexually mature, but is due to have a vasectomy in the next few weeks, as all the adult males here have had. As it’s only a minor operation, they usually recover completely in a day or two but it may well cool his ardour for a while. We have vasectomies done, rather than castrations as if they are able in the future to return to the wild as we hope, there will be no additional behaviour changes that could jeopardise their success. We are working with Kirsty so that she can come out of the pen with Pani for walks and a swim in the pool, but she is a very crafty and aggressive character and although now brave enough to jump on to the staff when they go in the pen, it is only for long enough to nip them, not to have a collar put on. With endless patience and the time, one commodity here in very short supply, she could still be won round. What we really need are volunteers we can train as monkey whisperers.

The most mentally affected monkey, who has been the recipient of many long hours of work, is Ruby, an adult female. She is the only one that despite now being in with others, still does stereotypical behaviour of rocking and baring her teeth. Although she only really relaxes when one to one with John, several staff members are also able to handle her at last, but she will still bite, she particularly attacks any female, monkey or human that comes too near John. It took us nearly six months to get her in with any other monkey, in fact her first companion here was Becky, one of our cats as she had obviously, at some stage in her captivity, had the opportunity to make friends with a cat and loved to just sit and groom and cuddle up to Becky for hours on end, luckily she is very accommodating and would sit in the pen with her for most of the day quite happily. We don’t know what Ruby has been through that has left her so traumatised, but when she came to us, she had been taken from a gang of youths who were trying to cut off her tail. This was their idea of a punishment as she had bitten one of them. We think she is about six years old.

Pixie the Langur has taught himself the sport of hide and seek, and instead of coming when called, as he always has, he now often takes great glee in going into hiding and the longer and harder you have to look, the more he enjoys it, in fact if your take too long to find him, like a human toddler, he just cant restrain himself and comes running out to show you how clever he’s been. The problem with his hiding places is that he forgets he has a very long tail and that often gives him away no matter how well the rest of him is hidden. Pixie, despite being a year old is still heavily reliant on his milk bottle, just lately he has cut down on the milk he actually drinks, but no way on his rights to have the bottle to suck.


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