At the start of our day a man arrives on a bike with a box containing a tiny baby Sykes monkey. Two troops had been fighting nearby and this little one had been injured, fallen out of the trees and was left behind.
We take him into the vet clinic to asses and estimate the baby to be about 2 to 3 weeks old. He is absolutely tiny. He has a couple of wounds on his side and his arm but nothing serious. He is quickly patched up and given an antibiotic shot. It was important to try and get him back to his mother as soon as possible.
We put him in a carry cage and set off in search of the troop. We find one near where he was found so we take the cage down a path and open the door. We are hoping the mother will appear. It should be very obvious if this happens as she should be frantic and desperate to get him back. The baby comes out of the cage and monkeys come down to investigate. They are interested but none of them appear to be his mother. We follow them for about 5 minutes but the troop seems more interested in us and getting us to go away than in taking the baby. Clearly this is not his troop so we scoop him up and take him back the Trust.
We are still hopeful that we will be able to find his family, but for now we need to make sure he is ok and doesn’t go into shock. We settle him in the cage with a hot water bottle and a stuffed panda to provide a surrogate mother. We decide to allow about 48 hours to get him back to his troop. If we can’t do this we will have to hand rear him.
I am tasked with looking after him in the meantime. We check his weight and calculate his stomach capacity so we know how much we can feed him. He will need to be fed baby formula every 3 hours. I give him some glucose syrup and keep an eye on him. Despite his traumatic morning he actually seems quite relaxed. He watches everything that goes past and makes some chirping noises. I give him some leaves to play with and he takes a nap. It is important to look out for signs of shock so I check him every 10 minutes. He seems to be very resilient though and is looking good.
In the afternoon our local Sykes troop, who is most probably the second troop involved in the dispute this morning, appears in the garden so it’s time to try again. We put him in the large outdoor cage and watch. There is certainly lots of interest and a few of the monkeys begin to clamber on the cage to investigate. There are two lactating females in the troop. One already has an infant but one doesn’t. She is definitely interested and makes soothing noises to him and warns us off when we try to approach. After carefully observations we are happy that we have located the infant’s mother. We take the baby out of the cage and put him among the trees. Sure enough this female is keen and tries to pick him up. Unfortunately the baby doesn’t want to go with her! We watch nervously for a while, other monkeys come forward and begin grooming him but he still won’t let the female pick him up. After about 15 minutes he almost falls off a branch and grabs onto the female. She picks him up, he holds on tight and away they go. One of the team follows the troop for a while and soon he is seen suckling. A big success for us! We hope he will do well back with his family.
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