Tag Archives: Orphan

The Story of Kijiji

Sadly, Kijiji died two days after this blog was written. However, due to the major impact she had the lives of the staff and volunteers here at the Trust we decided we would still like to share this experience.
For those of you who closely follow the Colobus Trust’s updates and stories, you will know that we recently celebrated the survival of baby Betsy; the longest lived hand-reared Angolan black and white Colobus monkey. Betsy is now four months old and like any young child she is driving the house crazy with her lively antics. Betsy now runs, jumps, and leaps all over the place, knocking down any object that can fall along the way; she is eating leaves and actually able to stand a few moments away from mum. It would appear from all of this that Betsy is a healthy young monkey and that we have succeeded in figuring out just what this little Angolan Colobus needs to be happy and strong. However, there is now a big change in Betsy’s life because we are happy to announce we have another infant Angolan Colobus in our care; Betsy’s adopted baby sister, Kijiji.
Baby Kijiji (meaning ‘village’ in Swahili) is now 28 days old (on May 17, 2011) and is the Trust’s second longest hand-reared Angolan Colobus monkey, and while she is strong just like her big sister, she is a completely different monkey. Unlike Betsy, who the Trust came to care for in her second week of life, we found Kijiji on what was most likely her first day in this world. Kijiji was discovered at a local hotel called Kijiji Cottages as a tiny, completely white Colobus with a long umbilical cord still attached to her and eyes fogged from a recent birth.
The staff at Kijiji cottages told us that they had been aware of the baby from 9am when they first heard an infant screaming in the Colobus troop that spends time on their plot. After closer examination it became clear that it was not the infant’s mother that was holding on to the baby but a male in the troop who was visibly unsure of what to do with the screaming fluff ball in his arms. Apparently the male continually left the baby alone in the trees as he fed with the troop and after a time would return for her and repeat the process. It was clear that the baby was distressed and hungry but no other monkeys in the troop responded to her calls. At around 2 pm after an entire day of the baby screaming the staff at Kijiji Cottages decided to call the Trust for help. They repeated the story as they knew it and we asked them to keep a close eye on her because we did not want to take her from her troop but it was disconcerting that she had been away from her mum for so long. Mother Colobus monkeys do at times leave their babies with other monkeys in the troop, usually an aunty, a sister or a daughter, as they go to feed and later return for their baby. While we were hopeful, it did not appear that this was what was happening in Kijiji’s case because a mother never leaves a baby for such an extended amount of time. At 2:30 pm the staff at Kijiji Cottages called again to inform us that the male that had been carrying the baby had left her alone on the ground and was no longer coming to collect her. It was at this point that we decided we needed to go to the site and see what was happening for ourselves.
At around 3 pm two of our staff (our manager, Andrea, and a volunteer) arrived at Kijiji cottages to see what needed to be done. The baby was wrapped in a towel inside the office still screaming and the troop was still nearby but paying no attention to the calls of the infant. It was then that we realized just how young the baby was and just how quickly we had to act. After picking the baby up to give it comfort and calm it down we observed the troop to see if any female could be the baby’s mother. No female could possibly have been its mother because every female we could see had an infant of its own, none the same age as Kijiji. It was obvious that Kijiji’s mother was missing and that we would have to take her because too much time had passed and we needed to take action. We are still unsure of what happened to Kijiji’s mother. As of now we are thinking that perhaps her mother died shortly after childbirth but no dead Colobus has been reported so we are unsure. Another possibility is that Kijiji was the weaker of two twins and her mother abandoned her to care for the stronger twin (the staff at Kijiji cottages reported that a new female with a young infant had joined the troop near their hotel days after we picked up Kijiji and may be her mother, we have yet to verify).
The outlook was not great For Kijiji because Angolan Colobus monkeys that come in at such a young age usually die fairly quickly due to their fragile nature. Nonetheless we gave Kijiji an adoptive mother to hold on to her and feed her a rehydration solution from a bottle because dehydration was our primary concern. Kijiji took the solution quite well despite her continued state of distress and we later began to feed her a diluted bottle of goat’s milk (we started with a 20% milk, 80% water mixture and have been upping the percentage of milk ever since). We also fed the baby a small amount of Colobus feces in her bottle of milk that we had collected from the troop which we hoped would give her the good Colobus bacteria that her stomach needed to digest the milk we fed her. As we let Kijiji feed we noticed bruising around her eyes that seemed indicative of being dropped but other than the bruising she showed no signs of trauma so we were not concerned.
We took the following weeks day by day; responding to Kijiji’s calls and indications of what she needed and working off of what we knew from raising Betsy. The information we had from raising Betsy was extremely helpful in rearing Kijiji but we learned very quickly that these are two very different monkeys with different temperaments and what worked for Betsy would not always work for Kijiji. Regardless, Kijiji exceeded all of our expectations and within a few days at the Trust she was very vocal about her needs, mainly: scream if you are hungry, scream if you are wet or covered in poo, and scream if you are cold. She quickly started to focus her eyes and discover her body, she began grabbing at things, whipping her tail, and experimenting with her legs. Kijiji is also slowly changing color and appears more and more black to us each day as she matures into a young Colobus. Unlike Betsy, Kijiji is a big eater who will eat until she is so full she vomits so we had to quickly figure out how to feed her to the point of satisfaction without making her sick. All the while we are very conscious of Kijiji’s hydration levels because that is what becomes most dangerous for a young Colobus, dehydration. There have been a few times where Kijiji has scared us due to her dehydration levels, the presence of diarrhea, and the occasional quiet and/or weak day. Regardless of these few bad days Kijiji remains very strong for the most part and never passes up a meal.
Kijiji is yet another hopeful case for us at the Colobus Trust and we enjoy each moment with her despite the consistent cries for food. We are very happy to have yet another healthy Colobus and hope that we have discovered what it is that young Colobus monkeys need. In the meantime we are doing our best to keep both Kijiji and Betsy healthy and hope that soon Betsy will have a fellow playmate and that the two will give us a moment’s rest. Thanks to all of you who have supported us and aided us in the two monkey’s care, we are grateful for your help and excited for the future.
Sadly, Kijiji passed away on the morning of 19th May. She had developed a cold, which had been caught from one of her carers. Unfortunately, this virus very quickly developed into pneumonia which Kijiji was unable to survive. As a four week old, hand reared infant, Kijiji had no immunity to help her fight infection. Infant primates rely on their Mother’s milk to provide antibodies, until their own immunity become active at around 6-8 weeks old. Her autopsy also revealed an enlarged liver – we are still gathering advice on the significance, if any, of this. She was only with us for 30 days, but we learnt a lot from Kijiji, her passing has left a large hole in the day to day live of the Colobus Trust.
Kijiji you were loved and will be sadly missed by all those who knew you.

http://www.justgiving.com/colobus-trustWith Molly her primary carer
Kijiji the afternoon she arrived

Lucky in some ways…

Last month we had a call about an electrocuted sykes monkey. The death of the monkey was sad enough, but it emerged that the monkey was a mother to an infant monkey that was now orphaned. When we got to the premises we spoke to Miss. Parin Streil who was holding the infant in her hands. She narrated the whole ordeal to us in detail and was really disturbed by the whole tragedy. We examined the infant and established he had no physical injuries then took him back to trust vet clinic for further assessment.

Felice fast asleep soon after his arrival

Felice fast asleep soon after his arrival

Parin was vey concerned about how we would cope with it and if it was going to be ok. I informed her of the adoption programme where concerned animal lovers like herself had the opportunity adopt and help raise infant monkeys by contributing a certain amount as a donation. The donation goes towards the welfare for the infants, enabling us to buy food, enrichment items and veterinary supplies. The support of adopters is very important because we are a charitable organisation and so have limited funds.

He's not as grumpy as he looks!!

He's not as grumpy as he looks!!

Miss. Streil requested to name the infant Felice which means happy in Italian. Felice is indeed happy and enjoying life at the Trust. He will be given a chance of a normal life because when he is big enough he will be in our rehabilitation cages then finally released back to the wild. This will take a lot of time, patience and resources but we are all committed to this course. Meanwhile, he has a friend in our (as yet) unnamed vervet orphan and he even appeared on MSN’s Week in Pictures shortly after his arrival!

We’ll keep you posted on how he’s getting on.

Thanks for reading,


A baby vervet needs a name

A week and a half ago, we had a new arrival at the Colobus Trust in the form of a baby vervet monkey. Her mother was electrocuted in Mombasa and the lady who discovered the sad scene called us to pick up the orphan. When the vervet arrived she still had her umbilical cord attached, so we estimate that she is only 2 and a half weeks old. This tiny vervet is beautiful and so feisty, already play-fighting with the Sykes baby monkey we also have in our care. She will be raised by volunteers at the Colobus Trust until she is old enough to then be rehabilitated and when she’s ready will be released into the wild.

The new arrival

The new arrival

We’ve decided that this delightful girl needs a name! We have set up an eBay auction so that anyone who would like the honor of naming this baby can bid to buy the rights. Money raised will go towards food for her and the other animals we have in our care at the moment, medicine, insulating electrical wires so this problem can be reduced and many more things. So please visit the site be generous!

Thanks for your support,


Baby vervet Amani at the Colobus Trust

I apologise for the lack of posts in the last month or so. We hope to update you on what’s been going on in the next few days! For now, here is a blog from Deepa, an Eco-volunteer from Mumbai.

Thanks for reading!

Cara, Assistant Manager

Baby Amani

On my first day at the Colobus Trust, we received an animal welfare call from Leisure Lodge Golf Course. A freak accident had taken place whereby a female vervet monkey had been killed by a rogue golf ball. Unfortunately, to add to the sad situation, she had a week old baby that then needed rescuing. One of the members the Golf Club was temporarily taking care of it, so we all went to pick up the infant and we took him back to the Trust. The baby monkey was visibly distressed throughout, calling piteously for its mother and not settling down easily.

Our first priority was to keep him hydrated and strong so he was fed baby milk formula diluted with water using a dropper. He was hungry initially and drank a lot of milk after which he used to close his eyes and rest or cry out for his mother. We all took turns holding him and feeding him whenever he woke up. At night, one of the volunteers, Laura, took him to her bed to feed him him through the night with her mosquito net providing a handy way to stop him wandering.

Baby Amani sleeping after his arrival

Baby Amani sleeping after his arrival

The next morning, he seemed more relaxed and accustomed to us. He was examined by our animal welfare expert, John, who felt he was under 2 weeks old. During the day, we had all been thinking of names for him and Mavinya, one of the volunteers, thought of Amani, which means peace in Swahili. I liked the name very much as Aman means wish in Hindi.

Amani barely had the time to adjust to life without his mother

Amani barely had the time to adjust to life without his mother

He fed quite well and we were asked to buy him some grapes to vary his diet. He loved the grapes and would suck on one for ages. That evening, we were advised to start reducing the contact and to keep him in the little plastic cage except when he was feeding. He got quite content with the cage as well. Unfortunately, that evening he took a turn for the worse and got dazed and dehydrated. His fur was drenched and we rushed him to the vet clinic, called the local vet and administered emergency dextrose. Unfortunately, in spite of all our efforts, Baby Amani passed away that night and left a pall of gloom behind. He was very young and we were so sad to see him not able to live without his mama. We were all very attached to him and so hopeful of him growing up. We hope his soul rests in peace.

Deepa Thomas