Jo and John Hicks have been at the forefront of animal welfare in the UK since the 1970’s and have been key players in a number of charities such as the Hunt Saboteurs Association, Compassion In World Farming, The Animal Defence Society, The Friends of Animals League, The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the League Against Cruel Sports. They founded the highly successful campaigning group, Animal Activists back in 1975. Jo and John were also the founders of International Animal Rescue.
They left England in 1998 to set up International Animal Rescue Goa and quickly established one of the leading animal rescue centres in India. At their highly acclaimed centre the main emphasis is the sterilization of cats and dogs but the centre deals with all animals both domestic and wild from cows to snakes.
However, the rescue centre cannot provide adequate facilities for keeping monkeys as these highly sensitive creatures need specialized care. For this reason all rescued monkeys are taken to Jo and John’s house where they are able to provide the care required.
Jo and John are now considered authorities on monkey care in India and their home has become a primate rescue centre. Because of the ongoing need and the lack of any other facilities, it is their desperate wish to provide a purpose built Primate Rescue, Rehabilitation and Study Centre in India.
Jo Hicks has been keeping supporters up to date on their activities and the monkeys via her blog, and this will now be regularly posted on this site.
We have 33 rescued monkeys in our care at present. These are of 3 species: – Langurs – the only ones found wild in the immediate area, Bonnet Macaques – found still in Goa’s remaining forests and Rhesus macaques – native to Northern India.
Our macaques were rescued from people illegally selling them as babies, or as neglected pets being kept in appalling conditions and from people using them for begging from tourists. Three of our four Langurs were brought to us after their mothers had been killed whilst they were only a few weeks old, two from car accidents and the other died of electrocution. A female of 18 months was rescued after she had been attacked by males and then hit by a car. It is illegal to keep wild animals as pets in India but trapping and shooting of monkeys with babies still takes place to supply the illegal pet trade.
When we confiscate baby monkeys they are always badly traumatized and are immediately given 24 hr one to one care until old enough to slowly join in a group with other youngsters. The majority of these babies otherwise die in the first few weeks of their captivity. We also take in adult pets that have survived the initial capture, who once past the cute and malleable stage are inevitably chained up or caged in totally inadequate conditions. These become mentally traumatized monkeys. They have had no contact with their own species, no chance to develop natural skills and no outlet for their highly complicated normal social behaviours.
It is always our aim to try and socialize them with at least one other monkey, so they can develop skills such as grooming and play, although this is a long and difficult process with those most damaged mentally. We also try and ensure they get to find out that not all humans will harm them, and nearly all our present residents can be safely handled by at least one member of staff. This allows us to easily monitor their health, treat their illnesses and provides them with exercise outside their enclosures, giving them a chance to learn to climb trees, swim, and eat local foods etc., all of which they have never been able to do before.
It is our aim to raise funds sufficient to give all our monkeys large enclosures of about 1 acre that will be big enough to provide a near natural environment where they can live in groups.
The release of ex-pet monkeys into a wild environment would require a troop of about 30 to provide the social structure they require. It would also require an area of forest with a good year round food and water supply with no human residents and one that was also free of any wild resident monkey troops. All these requirements are at present unattainable.
This blog aims to fill our supporter in on the trials and joys of caring for this mixed family of misfits at our house in rural India, as well as filling in the background on each of the monkey and their progress since rescue.