Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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The Nursery Monkeys - Two Fly the Nest (Leoma's Leaving Blog)


I have been here near on two months now and my time at Wildtracks has come to an end. I can safely say that volunteering here has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. However, before I get all reminiscent and emotional, I will first update you on what has happened with Elliot and the other nursery babies since my last post.

There have been a few of significant developments in the past couple weeks. Firstly, we have just received an eagerly awaited grant to cover part of the cost of building the babies their very own dedicated nursery building - an extension onto the side of the house. The set-up we have now works up to a point, but the seven babies are quickly outgrowing Zoe and Paul’s office area and it would be great for them (and the humans too!) to have their own space. It will make the volunteers jobs a lot easier and I am sure it will provide an even better quality of care. I am only sad I will not be here to see it built.

Secondly, and very excitingly, two of our babies have flown the nest! Jaz and Little Pea, the oldest of the nursery inhabitants, have now graduated the nursery and are living in their outside cage full time, instead of coming back to sleep inside at night. We were slightly nervous the first couple of nights to see how they would react, whether it would upset them too much or cause them too much anxiety, but so far they have adapted remarkably well and seem to be happy and stress free, if slightly confused! It is a big step forward in their rehabilitation journey and they are now that little bit nearer to being released. The way that they have handled it is a testament to their increased confidence and the success of Wildtracks go-slow approach to reintroduction and release into the wild.

As for Elliot, things have progressed well in his integration with the other four younger howlers (The three P’s and Sam). We have recently felt comfortable enough with their interactions to leave them to play together unsupervised and the results have been very promising. The younger ones are now much more relaxed around Elliot and in turn he is a lot less aggressive with them. The difference is especially noticeable with the two girls, Polly and Pebbles. Whereas before they would only cry and cling to their carer if Elliot showed the least sign of boisterous behaviour, now they are starting to stand up to him a bit more. It is funny to see them bark in his face and even wrestle with him occasionally!

As a result of being allowed out to play more often Elliot himself is a lot happier and his anxiety issues have definitely calmed down. What really upset him was feeling left out of the group and I am happy to say that they are now showing signs of becoming a great little troupe of five, developing social bonds and interacting well, and will hopefully be released into the wild together someday.
The fact that these amazing little creatures have bonded with me and have learnt to trust me is what has made this such a magical experience. It fills me with pride to see them growing up, happy and healthy and to know that in some small way I have helped with that. I hope one day to be able to come back to Wildtracks and maybe see them all being returned to the wild as full grown monkeys.

I would like to thank Zoe and Paul for this amazing opportunity and all the other volunteers for making the past two month so memorable and so much fun.

Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-03-20 19:33:30   [Link to this article]

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