Trouble this week when the carefully planned confiscation of a very young baby monkey being illegally kept, turned into a full scale drama. Reported by a supporter when the owners started to take him to their restaurant in the evenings to entertain tourists, the baby bonnet macaque was owned by what we were told was an influential family. For this reason a small group of supporters were organised to accompany John on the visit.
When they arrived at the premises they found the monkey on a short chain tied to a roof beam. After explaining to the owners that it was illegal for them to be holding wild life, as they were well aware having had animals confiscated from them before, John went to take the monkey down when a group of men armed with sticks and a machete launched an attack on them. Men grabbed hold of John and started hitting him while the man with the machete lashed out at every one. Linda Horton, who is the lady who fostered Pixie over the monsoon, very bravely managed in the chaos of the attack, to remove the baby from his chain and stuffing him down her front, ran off and then drove away with him. The rest of the volunteers were then chased down the road by a group of about 35 people but managed to make it to the relative safety of the local police station. However the situation remained very tense and some of our groups tires were slashed, during all this one of the volunteers, Kathy, collapsed from stress and had to be rushed to hospital by emergency ambulance and was kept in overnight.
Eventually John was given permission to keep the monkey by the police and everyone, including the baby got back by midnight.
We named him Preston, in honour of Linda’s home town and he is without doubt the boldest, most self assured macaque we have ever had here. We had to remove an earring as they had his ear pierced, and of course while indoors he has to adapt to wearing nappies, all this he took in his stride. From the start he had no fear of anyone, the rescued dogs or the other monkeys. At the moment he is still being given individual care by Linda and sleeping in her bedroom but he is very keen to get in with the other monkeys, who because of his totally fearless attitude are without exception terrified of him. They will undoubtedly get used to his up front attitude, or maybe he will moderate his enthusiasm to make friends and take on challengers, but there is no doubt he is going to be a dominating presence here, and I have a feeling we are only at the start of the trouble he will cause us!