The babies, Puck and Phooka are now spending 2 to 3 hours in their pen unsupervised everyday. Although they initially still make a fuss at being left, after a few minutes they can be spied playing happily together, but if they see a potential rescuer they go back to pitiful cries.
All the macaques are enjoying the pool, and all those who can be handled get a chance to swim everyday, Aaji (see the profile page) is still somewhat overweight and prefers to just cool off in the shallow end.
An unexpected new addition recently to our rescues is a young 1 meter crocodile. This was a so called “pet”, although no concern for its welfare was shown by its heartless owners. We learnt of its plight from a member of our staff, who had heard there was an abandoned crocodile in an empty property. When the story was investigated, we found it trapped in a small, but deep completely dry tank, in the garden of a now disused house. With some difficulty it was pulled out and bought back here and examined. Not only was it severely dehydrated, but had had all its teeth knocked out by its owners, standard practice apparently for “pet” crocodiles.
A course of antibiotics, and a tank rigged up in the garden here, have now revived it to a stage where ‘Crusty’ as we have called her has started to feed again, and the vets are optimistic that in time she will recover almost completely from her life in captivity. The last crocodile we had was released into nearby swamp land.
Its not only ‘pet’ crocodiles that get a poor deal from humans, the so called ‘sacred cows’ that wander everywhere are a constant problem. They have little value and to the majority of the local population are just a nuisance and get no care when sick or injured. The most frequent problem is collisions with traffic on the increasingly busy roads. We also find animals that have been chased away from shops and houses, boiling water, or cooking oil and even acid is thrown over them and injuries can be horrific as in this climate wounds become maggot infected very quickly.
On a recent trip to the local market, we stopped to check on one very thin cow lying on the side of the road. It had obviously been hit by a vehicle some time ago and had one hoof that was completely destroyed and alive with maggots, as well as in an old head injury. Despite getting her to the vets immediately, nothing could be done to save her, and it is sad to think of all the people living and walking on this busy road who must have seen her struggling along over several weeks.
The extensions to the monkey pens continue, although we are still playing musical chairs at cleaning out time. The new cage extensions have meant a move for Pixie and Elfin, the adult Langurs. They have changed into one of the taller pens which they very much enjoy as they get a better view of the surrounding forests and get to look down at everything going on. There has been one big drawback, which we hope will pass in time and that is the local troop of wild Langurs. They have ours when passing through since Pixie was a youngster, but now very much resent his new lofty position in life. The wild lead male has made it his mission to see him off, and at some 21 kilos in weight has not only smashed a whole section of roof tiles to rubble, but has damaged the pen roof and trashed the pot plants on the adjoining balcony. Pixie and Elfin seem to realise they are safe inside, and even seem to taunt his violent displays with there wild dashes round the pen. At the moment he is here, despite our chasing him away, two or three times a day but hopefully the novelty will wear off soon.
The arrival of two giant Hornbills to the big banyan tree in the garden has caused much consternation amongst the monkeys. Although they are fruit eaters, and have come just for the banyans red fruits which are now fully ripe, their enormous size and strange calls give all the resident t monkeys a fright. Every time they fly, a chorus of warning cries resounds round all the pens, which sets off the dogs as well. The Hornbills seem oblivious to the noisy chaos!