Tag Archives: primate rescue

Eric becomes Erica!

The orphaned baby Sykes monkey that Andrew reported on back in July is doing very well. After finding out she is in fact a girl, not a boy, the monkey has been renamed Erica instead of Eric!

After her initial struggle to survive, Erica has been going from strength to strength. In her first few weeks at the Colobus Trust, Erica was only drinking formula milk. However, in the last month we have added non-acidic fruits and vegetables to her diet. Her favourites are definitely mango and cucumber! What’s more, Erica has been venturing out into the trees at the Trust, exploring what she likes to eat in the wild. She was timid at first when it came to venturing on to the branches, but with a little tree-climbing on our part, she was soon clambering through the vegetation. The volunteers at the trust all enjoy being surrogate mothers to Erica, and take it in turns to have her sleep with them in order that she doesn’t become too attached to one person. In spite of this, our volunteer Michaela always gets preferential treatment from Erica!

dsc_0029-kopia.JPG Erica gets acquainted with the trees

Whether she is leaping around playing, suckling on an earlobe or lip, giving warning calls when there are baboons in the garden or even when she wants someone to groom her, Erica ensures that life here is always entertaining!

Watch out for an update on Erica’s next steps…..

Danger! High Voltage!

The Colobus Trust runs a 24 hour hotline which enables local residents and businesses to report any injured, sick or dead monkeys in the area. To the best of their ability the Colobus team then resolves every situation, which may include a Vervet monkey injured at a hotel, a Sykes’ monkey caught in a snare or even a Colobus monkey killed in a road traffic accident.

In this instance, a hotel made a call to let us know that three Colobus monkeys had been electrocuted on the perimeter of their plot. Upon arrival, only two of the three Colobus were still in the area. Unfortunately, one of them was already dead- a large adult male with burns to his hands and feet. Our main concern was now treating the other injured Colobus, an adult female. Catching her was relatively easy compared to other captures due to the injuries on her back legs preventing her from climbing a tree.

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Michaela, Andrew and Jody with the Colobus ready to get back to the clinic

Once back at the trust, Andrew, Cara, Jody and Michaela sedated and then examined the Colobus, during which time we discovered that she was heavily pregnant- all the more reason to ensure her successful release back into the wild.

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Above: The injury to the Colobus

Below: Treatment being given at the Colobus Trust clinic

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Her external wounds (burns to her feet and rump) were treated and multivitamin and tetanus injections were administered. She was then placed in quarantine under observation until she came round from sedation. Later in the day when she was fully alert and able to move adequately, we released her near to the location where she was found.

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The Colobus being released by Andrew and Cara

The Colobus trust is working with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to insulate as many electricity lines as we can fund in order to reduce and even eradicate cases such as these. The public can help us with this by making any donation, large or small, which we would greatly appreciate.

Luckily for this Colobus, and her unborn baby, her encounter with the electricity lines was not fatal- unlike her fellow troop member who lost his life.

Please help now,

The Colobus Team

Injured Vervet – wound on hand from glass sugar jar.

 Capture

Peter, Sarah, Sam and Tom went to the location where the report of an injured Vervet monkey was reported. After looking around the grounds it seemed that a capture would be unsuccessful today. Either way, the gentleman who reported the incident offered them drinks for their troubles…… Then what do you know? The monkey arrives! The capture was a relatively easy one which involved luring the monkey into the cage with fruit! Once it was trapped, it was sedated and brought into the clinic.

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Treatment

Claire, Peter and Jody assessed the monkey on arrival. On examination, there were wounds visible on both arms and a major wound on the back of the right hand. All wounds were cleaned thoroughly by the team and Jody sutured the hand wound with dissolvable stitches. Claire gave antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and Tetanus injections intramuscularly. Iodine was applied to all wounds and the monkey was placed back in the cage to come round fully under observation. Once the monkey was awake water and food were then offered.

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After Care

Following the procedure, antibiotic injections were given for another day and the monkey’s progress was monitored.

Release

24 hours after the procedure, the monkey was taken back the location where it was captured. Here, he was released successfully and roamed his natural environment back where he belongs!

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All in all, it was a positive outcome for the monkey and team!

www.colobustrust.org

New members for the Colobus Trust family.

 Hello all, Andrew here and I am the new assistant manager here at the Colobus Trust. I’ve been working here for little over a month and it’s been an incredible experience so far. The team here has really made me feel welcome. I came from GVI working with Friends of Shimoni Forest and have now switched Wildlife direct pages to Colobus Trust. There has yet to be a dull day here at the trust and I am learning something new every second.  One experience has really changed my life. It was early Sunday morning and we already had two calls to pick up three dead Sykes monkeys…this was not going to be a good day.  We drove north up Diani beach road to the first call and arrived to find an adult female dead in the middle of the road with a male standing protectively over her.  After fending him off I managed to pick up the female, but while I was doing so one of the volunteers noticed another monkey lying on the grass just next to the road. This one was tiny and at first I thought it must also have been killed by the car that hit its mother. However, as I got closer I realized it was still breathing.  Knowing time was critical it took two of us to retrieve the baby, one to pick it up and the other to keep the male from attacking us as he tried to defend the infant. We rushed it back to the clinic and after checking him over we discovered that miraculously he had not sustained a single injury, despite the fact that he was probably being carried by his mother when she was hit.  He was, however, in acute shock and desperately needed to be rehydrated and warmed up.  We tried to give him baby formula with a syringe but he was too weak to drink and in the end we had to put him on a drip in order to get enough fluids into him.  Slowly but surely he began to improve, although for the first twenty four hours it was a bit touch and go.  As he grew stronger he became a lot more vocal and active, starting to climb bookcases and causing all the havoc you would expect a baby monkey to cause! img_0002compressed.jpg  We think he is about two weeks old which means that he requires round the clock care. He needs to be fed every three hours (night and day) and someone to carry him round constantly to keep him warm and provide social interaction. It’s a full time job caring for Eric, named after Eric Sykes the British comedian, but we have become quite close. It’s going to be hard when the time comes for him to leave but I know it is the best thing for him. Until that time comes he will remain a member of the Colobus Trust family. He has become quite comfortable sleeping with me and will happily wake me up every morning by running around and playing with my face.  

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Caring for these animals is one of the most important things we do here at the Trust. Animals like Eric who lose their mothers due to human disturbance when they are so young do not stand a chance in the wild without assistance. It’s going to be quite a job getting him to where he needs to be in order to be release back into the wild. I truly believe it is our responsibility to ensure that the destruction caused by our kind has as little impact on the wildlife as possible, both the individual and the species as a whole. It’s not an easy thing we do here and it would not be possible without the support of our volunteers and donors like you. I’ll be giving up-dates on how our new family member is doing from time to time so be sure to check back and watch him grow with us! Thanks again for all your support. Andrew Hayes.  

An electrocuted colobus monkey rescue mission

On the 26 June 2009, it became very clear to me that electrocution of colobus monkeys is one single change that we still have to fight tooth and nail. On this day a great supporter of the colobus trust and who is also a Diani resident called on our hot line to report a colobus monkey who had just been electrocuted next to her house. As a response team I had to collect all the necessary rescue kit from our small veterinary clinic as fast as my little legs could carry me along. Remembering how bad electrocution cases can be, I was completely caught in between passion for animals and the likely picture I was going to see at the site. I can assure you would not want to see one in your life time.

Rescue mission is one task that always require preparedness and dedication, the colobus trust posses both. It is only possible for the monkeys to be rescued in time if facilities are adequate and sufficiently available. On this fatal day the most unfortunate thing was just about to happen, the only vehicle the colobus trust has was a way at the airport picking up volunteers. A big thanks to Elodie, our acting manager, who allowed us to use her small car for this mission.

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“Good lord” this phrase, though not very famous with most people, helped my feelings, because the said electrocuted colobus monkey had just gone up the tree after a huge electric shock he had suffered swept him onto the ground, no burns, no death. By the way before I forget, the most important thing we have done to prevent electrocution is insulting power line wires, and do you know what, one conduit pipe fixed on six metres of power line can save a whole family of colobus monkeys.

The one thing I still want to do for this survivor is to give him a name, a remarkable name, please suggest one for him, would you?.

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John Abuor-Animal Welfare Officer-Colobus Trust.

“And remember conservationists and animal lovers do not keep pet monkeys even though they love them so much!”

www.ColobusTrust.org

The Three Baby Vervets’ Story

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Around 3 months ago, a small box arrived to the door at The Colobus Trust. The box had come all the way from Tsavo National Park and made strange screeches and noises. We opened it, and inside we found a tiny, golden beige baby Vervet, around one month old, looking back at us. This was the stubborn infant that was soon going to wake us up during the nights, screaming for attention, mango and milk, in need of feeding every three hours. It had been found abandoned by its mother, playing with some children in Tsavo, so the journey all the way to the Trust had been long. After ensuring that he was not suffering from any illness, we prepared for him a cage with branches, fruits and a surrogate mother (a hot water bottle). During the days he played hide-and-seek with us, sometimes he could sit clinging to my stomach for hours while I was walking around the Trust working with other tasks. He was given all the love and attention he required, if not more – still, we were all watching him with a slight doubt in our eyes, knowing that he could not stay forever at the Trust. Where would he go, who would take care of him? We made a lot of effort trying to reach out to several Vervet Rehabilitation Centers, but no one seemed to have room for the Vervet infant.

Only a week later, another baby Vervet came in. This infant was even smaller than the first one – around two weeks old. He was found left alone just outside in the bush, also somehow abandoned by his mother, but this one seemed to be suffering a worse trauma. He was shocked and depressed, not interacting nor reacting to anything, but when left alone he would freak out and cry himself tired until anyone came back to hold him. Then we introduced him to our first baby Vervet, and it turned out to be a great solution. The two moved into the same cage and became friends, grooming, cuddling and sleeping in each other’s arms. Whenever there was a threat, the bigger one would take the smaller one in protection. It was so lovely to see, and it also meant that they could help each other through the hard times and give each other care and safety. They both grew more and more independent and explored their surroundings with a great sense of curiosity. However, we were still concerned about their future.

Just a few weeks later, a THIRD baby Vervet came in. This infant was between the age of the older and the younger, and very angel-like – it had been kept as a pet, and was finally handed over to the Trust a rainy February night. So now there were three small baby monkeys.

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Luckily, we had a family just down the Diani Road who gave us the news that they were actually ready to adopt the baby monkeys during rehabilitation, before they were old enough and ready to be released back into the wild. We had found them a home! One day, they all moved into the house of Hillary, Isabella and Alex. The first time was not easy – the monkeys were a bit confused, jumping around hysterically, urinating on the furniture and eating every piece of food left outside. Hillary, Isabella and Alex had a hard time, especially with the smallest Vervet, who was still traumatized and a bit depressed. When I visited their new home only a week later, the monkeys were completely different. They were not aggressive at all, the smallest one was much happier and showed interest in its surroundings, exploring the environment and climbing the walls. They were eating with great appetite and showed a very healthy behaviour. Instead of moving them into a big rehabilitation enclose in the backyard of the house, as was the plan, they seemed to have made the house veranda their playground. They would sometimes leave the house to go exploring, but always returned again.

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As for now, the monkeys are doing great on their favourite veranda. There are still many challenges that they need to face every day, some of them more difficult than others, but they are doing fine and growing more and more independent. One of the baby Vervets, though, just had a horrible experience while playing in the garden, and is currently treated for this little adventure. To be continued…

Anna Sandahl, Colobologist

Baby Vervet’s Long Lost Brother

As two of our volunteers just left to continue their journey (former Trust-bloggers Tracey Stenson and Tim Jukes), another baby vervet monkey just came in. This baby is even smaller than the first one; approximately 2 weeks old and still in constant need of a surrogate mother holding him tight. He was found left alone just outside the bush, shocked and depressed, somehow abandoned by his mother way too early. After having introduced him successfully to our first baby vervet (about 1,5 months old), he moved into the same cage, and the two of them became friends. They cuddled, groomed each other, and spent the night sleeping in each other’s arms. The smallest baby vervet still has some problems being fed, since he hasn’t learned yet how to suck but to bite and scratch quite hard, but he is now hand-reared every 3 hours together with the other baby vervet, something that has turned out to be a good solution.

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The bigger baby Vervet, though, shows good indications of growing independent. Partly, he has started chewing solid food, e.g. watermelon and banana instead of infant milk formula, and if he doesn’t like something you do to him, he truly shows that his teeth are developing. His world is getting bigger and bigger too: yesterday his exploring curiosity took him to new heights, as he climbed halfway up a big Neem tree. Usually, the Vervet mother pinches the baby when it climbs too far away from her, but as we couldn’t reach our baby Vervet he just kept on climbing, until he realized he wanted to get down again, which apparently wasn’t as easy as climbing up… We got him down by holding a long branch (with a piece of banana on top if it) so close to him that he could grab it. He even proved his bravery by mocking with Nala – the cat of the house, twice his size – a situation that resulted in Nala being chased away, surrendering.

However, it is a lot to do for the two volunteers that are left. The two babies need constant looking after and to be carried around and held, and at the same time there are regular tasks, like giving eco-tours for the tourists, keep on de-snaring and other field projects. We strongly feel the need of more volunteers joining us as currently there is a lot to do at the Trust. Fortunately, a couple living here in Diani just gave the information that they are going to adopt the two baby Vervets and build a rehabilitation cage in their garden for them.

Anna Sandahl, Filip Celander, Colobologists