New Challenges 8th May 2017

A new bonnet macaque monkey was admitted this month, a middle aged female, Rani, meaning queen in Hindi.

Her owners approached us , as they had heard of our facilities and work, and had realized that life as a pet ,was not fulfilling her needs.

She had been kept in isolation from other monkeys as their pet, attached permanently to a tree in the garden, her life and activity severely limited because of this. As a result she is very overweight, has had no connection at all with her own species and of course has never had the opportunity to interact, or swim and play in water, probably every macaque’s favourite activity. She is friendly with humans, but still a little stunned by her change of circumstances. She has already been for long walks in the gardens which she seemed to enjoy, and has made good friends with Nagesh , our monkey man, as well as Raj, our oldest resident monkey. Raj is a mellow old man, and she couldn’t wait to groom him, and he obviously enjoyed Rani’s attentions, although Katrina, his usual companion, was not amused at all , and made rude and threatening remarks to her!

The wide choice of fruit and vegetables we offer our residents, she finds very baffling, and is reluctant to even try most of these new things. However once she has taken that first step to try anything new , it quickly becomes her favourite , and is what she looks for first in her next healthy meal, discarding all else. Unfortunately so far she has only been tempted to try just 3 new things, grapes, melon and pomegranate. Her favourite thing is still the basic potato curry she has always been given, and we give her a little every day until she adapts to her healthier diet. At present she is living next door to Aaji and Tansy, in the hope that she will get to know them through the wire partition, and eventually they can share a pen. Both Aaji and Tansy were kept as lone “pets” for a long time, but are now friends.

Kochi, still the baby, is now over two years old, and is living most of the time with the troop of other youngsters, and with Ruby, as the boss. He still comes in every evening for his extra food, not to mention cuddles. Living with 4 other monkeys all day, where he is lowest in rank, not having a real mother to stand up for him, has its drawbacks. He always has the last pick of any food on offer of course; the others will always take all the best stuff. Also without a mother to regulate “naps”, he tends to be on the go all the daylight hours, like an unsupervised child in Disney land, there is just so much to do, and if he does slow down, one of his friends will just be ready for a new game. As a result when he comes in, the first action is to the food bowl, to stuff himself with all the best in fruit and vegetables, the others had kept for themselves during the day. He still also has some milk. Next he has to find his comforter, a cuddly toy; he chose that on his arrival as a baby, a soft blanket and with a comfy mattress to sleep on, and he is out like a light, for several hours.

Nissa, the last orphan Langur monkey that was bottle reared here, is now 3 years old, but she still also likes the some human attention and walks in the gardens. This she will do, only if there are no wild Langurs in sight or sound of the tree house.. The wild troop will frequently visit us, and like to torment and threaten our orphans, leaving us all in little doubt what they would like to do to them. No troop of monkeys will allow a stranger in their territory, of whatever age or sex.

Along with all the different monkey personalities and quirks, the 18 rescued cats also bring their own challenges. Mercy, then 8 months old and one of the market rescues, spent her first 6 months here living within 20 feet of the quarantine and release cage, that she spent her first week in.  A helpful volunteer took on the task of introducing her to a wider world, by carrying her out several times a day to the large table, where the monkey food and toys are prepared by staff and volunteers, so she could meet new people and see more going on and this seemed to work. Indeed, she took to this new territory so well, she now sleeps on the table, is never more than a short distance from it, and we even have to feed her up there, as she will not make her own way back to the normal  cat feeding area!


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