Despite the lack of space for any new monkeys, a new young male, Scotty, was admitted this week. About one and a half to two years old, he had been kept as a “pet”. A proportion of the illegally poached and sold babies do survive captivity and while they are small and relatively malleable they are tolerated on a chain, or in a small cage, for the entertainment of the family. As they mature there total isolation and lack of any normal stimulation inevitably results in an increasingly frustrated and mentally damaged individual. This usually manifests itself as weaving or rocking, repetitive movements, biting themselves and humans etc. Scotty is one of these damaged survivors but hopefully he is young enough to still benefit from a more normal monkey life, including meeting other monkeys and learning to be one.
We will also ensure he gets stimulation for his active brain. Those that survive much beyond this age always seem to suffer a degree of permanent mental damage. We have yet to get Scotty to the stage where he can share a pen with any other monkeys,
but at his age this is normally achievable with patience.
Phooka and Puck, the Langur babies continue to develop and learn new skills. Phooka has worked out where their feeding bottles are kept between feeds, so started to bring me the empty ones as a hint. In the garden they both like hibiscus flowers to eat and will even dare to climb the bushes to get one. The only big fright this week was a low flying helicopter which sent all the monkeys into a panic.
Mowgli the mongoose has had many free, but escorted garden walks and hasn’t seen anymore snakes to frighten him, but still seems happy enough to return to the safety of his pen.
A strange arrival for 3 days was an Olive Ridley sea turtle, an increasingly rare species. This large one was brought to us by the Goa Forestry Department, after it had been injured by a boat propeller. Until a suitable tank could be erected for it, it was housed in the “dog’s swimming pool” here, causing much consternation and astonishment among our resident dogs. At present it is still recovering from an operation and its injuries at the International Animal Rescue Goa Centre, and awaiting release.