The holiday season here in Goa has started to roll into action, with some startling white faces to be seen amongst the locals in town, and an adventurous few even making it out to the Tree House already, to see our work .
The local and large troop of wild Langurs has been causing us many problems lately. This is because a new young male has succeeded in a takeover, this happens about every 4 years or so, but he is still intent on showing off and proving himself worthy of this status to his new females, and has chosen the format of bullying our rescues as proof of his superiority.
Roof Damage!This involves at the moment at least two sessions a day, of leaping over our roofs and the monkey pens, with much whooping and as much crashing about as possible. Our residents are safe from any physical assault in their pens, but the tiled roofs of the house and the sheeting on the monkey pens are suffering greatly due to his weight and vigour. He loves to make as much noise as possible and will deliberately kick over plant pots, and break branches etc .We are also not able to take out our residents for their exercise when he is displaying or is nearby, as quite wisely, they do not want to meet him first hand. We are just having to wait for him to feel he has won his status, and to calm down in his new role, before we can even start on the roof repairs. Sadly, he will then get to work on getting rid of all the babies and the youngsters in the troop, who are not carrying his genes.
A different, but no less difficult aspect of life in rural India recently, with the Hindu holidays coming in quick succession. The two weeks of Ganesh celebrations are shortly followed by Divali, this means extra time off for all the staff, and a bit of a struggle to get all the work done for the monkeys. Added to this and the amplified chanting and music, are the endless fireworks let off almost every night, and starting again some days at 2 am! These are not pretty, civilised, sparkling things, but in most cases, thunder bombs of enormous size and power, rattling windows, and your teeth, by the sheer volume of noise. Our dogs shake with fear and hide under the bed, even the monkey troops, who usually sleep peacefully at least at night, can be heard crashing and whooping in the jungle in reaction. You would have thought that being born and raised in India with this, that the animals would take it in their stride, but at this time of year, lots of the Indians house dogs go missing, and I have already been asked by several locals if I have seen their dog, the rescue centres get many visits for missing pets, but a connection to the fireworks is rarely made it seems!
The only local species that seems immune is the children, and I have seen even toddlers setting off these giant explosions with glee, although with seemingly no safety rules or restrictions on their sale or use, and the relative cheapness of purchase, I am sure the hospital emergency rooms must be super busy.
Matilda is still mainly on her own since the loss of Butch, but seems un bothered by this. She has feuds on going with several other females here she could join, and made it pretty clear she thought Butch a bit of a bully, but hopefully when I have more volunteer monkey handlers to help, we can find her a companion she will tolerate.
The last big rains of the monsoon left even our hill top garden flooded, so much so, I spotted wild terrapins playing in the puddles!