On the morning of January 24th we were alerted to a welfare case near Indian Ocean Resort. Upon arrival we were given a metal crate with a month old male vervet infant inside and then taken to an adult female vervet, the infant’s mother, who sadly was already dead.
Both animals were brought back to the site where the mother was given a post mortem and the infant given a full medical assessment by our vet. He was then bundled up tightly in some old sheets to stop him wriggling around too much – earning him his name, Burrito.
As facebook friends of Colobus Conservation might already be aware, following the post mortem examination of Burrito’s mother it became apparent that she was poisoned. As standard procedure we kept him in a 48 hour quarantine from our other orphans but also kept a close eye on him for signs of potential poisoning – any poisons the mother had ingested could have been passed on to him via her milk. Over his first few days he remained healthy and things are looking good for him so far.
Burrito is a very independent and developed infant! Unlike many orphans, he is sleeping through the night without crying and he is eating well during the day, though he will only tolerate being held by people if he is being fed or if very sleepy. Limiting his attachment to humans can only be a good thing as it will improve his chances of being successful in the wild when he is reintroduced. Nevertheless, because he is a baby monkey he needs contact and warmth from something. As he was not being regularly held by his carers we were keen to introduce him to the other orphans as soon as possible.
There are many considerations and often risks when introducing unfamiliar wild animals so we were sure to keep a close eye on Burrito when he first met our other orphans, Yam, Turk and Izzie. We introduced Burrito to each one individually and were delighted to see them all get on. Burrito is especially fond of our other male vervet orphan, Turk, and when they first met they immediately started playing. So far, all four orphans are getting on well together – cuddling and playing in their pen. As Burrito is a little younger than the rest he gets fed separately but is always welcomed back by lots of kisses as the others lick up the messy porridge left around his mouth!