Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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John's Leaving Blog - Izzie


When I arrived two months ago, Izzie was well on her way toward a healthy recovery. Her cast had been removed and she was happy to run around and explore, provided she didn't stray too far. Despite her eager attitude, however, she was favoring her healthy arm and kept a limp wrist on her recovering limb. Izzie was happy to use her right arm for stability or to help herself climb, but wasn't putting a lot of weight on it or showing a lot of confidence, and the same could be said of her tail. About a month into my stay we started noticing some big improvements. Izzie had begun to swing one hand in front of the other as she moved along horizontal branches. At times, I'll catch her hanging solely from the arm doctors had recommended to remove and more often yet, she'll drop down by her tail to peruse her fruit or leaves. When she runs now, her wrist often locks upright as it should and she's gaining more confidence every day. Watching her scurry about, you'd be surprised to hear her prognosis could have ever been so grim.

But there's still a lot of work to do. Helping Izzie to overcome her injuries is just as piece of the puzzle and her journey back into the wild is far from over. She's still a baby, after all, and so our routine continues. The babies are fed on the same schedule as all of our primates; four times a day, at 6:30, 10:00, 2:00, and 4:30. Izzie receives a mixed portion of fruit, often some combination of banana, papaya, apple, grape, and melon. Spider monkeys primarily survive on fruit, but certain leaves enter their diet and Izzie is given leaves from a specific set of trees with every meal. Alongside her meal, she's also given a bit of fortified milk to encourage her growth and supply her with a healthy bit of vitamins. This combination is similar for all of the babies, although the howler monkeys receive a high portion of leaves to fruit.

Izzie is an exceptionally intelligent animal and as such, requires a lot of stimulation. After her meal times, she's taken out for supervised playtime. In the wild, a spider monkey of her age would still be attached to her mother, learning how to navigate the world while under direct protection. As such, she isn't left alone for much more than her bedtime or during our own meals. She gets a lot of one on one time, exploring and learning the limits of what she can accomplish. It can be a lot of fun caring for an animal like Izzie, but it's a lot of work too, and not unlike caring for a two year old child.

But it's time now that I pass that responsibility on. After two months, my time at Wildtracks has come to a close. In a few days Molly, one of Izzie's original caretakers, will be returning to pick up where I've left off. I have every bit of confidence in Izzie, the babies, and all the animals under the care and protection of the men and women at Wildtracks. It takes more than admiration for animals, but commitment and responsibility are in no short supply here. I hope I've been able to give you a sense of what it is we do and how important it is to the growth of these populations. If perhaps these blogs inspire you to help out, consider joining the Wildtracks volunteer team or make a donation! Every contribution, big or small, makes a world of difference for these animals.

And to my fellow volunteers, Paul, Zoe, and the rest of the staff at Wildtracks: take good care of them and take care of yourselves.

It's been unforgettable.


Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-03-06 15:33:49   [Link to this article]

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