Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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Introducing the Nursery (John and the nursery monkeys)

At 25, I found myself approaching the end of the year with a bit of uncertainty. I'd been a few years out of college, bouncing around the west coast of the United States trying to find some semblance of purpose. I imagine in this day and age it's not an entirely unique position for someone of my age. I found myself late in 2012 scouring the web for an international conservation program through which to volunteer. When I found Wildtracks, my search narrowed. Everything seemed to checkout on my personal checklist. I could escape the winter months and work directly with struggling species in their native land, remote from the hustle of the urban world, yet close enough to not feel like I fell completely off the map. A month into my stay now and I've been asked to put a few words down.

My name is John and I have the pleasure of caring for eight baby and juvenile primates here at Wildtracks, along with Leoma, whom you will hear from in the coming days. We have seven black howlers in the nursery; the juveniles Jazz and Lil' P, a young juvenile named Elliot, and four babies: Peanut, Pebbles, Polly, and Sam. Amongst this group there is one Spider monkey, a baby named Izzie.

Izzie has a story bound to tug at your heart, though unfortunately not uncommon in the world of wildlife rehabilitation. Izzie's mother had been poached by a hunter looking to capture the young baby. Izzie was dropped from high in the canopy and in the fall suffered a dislocated tail and a broken arm, as well as several bits of shrapnel embedded in her arm. Her mother did not survive. The prognosis wasn't good. Doctors recommended amputation and worse yet, euthanasia. Her progress today is testament to the care available at this facility and the commitment given to these animals by volunteers and facilitators alike.

Thanks to an effective fundraising campaign, an orthopedic surgeon from the US was flown in to operate on Izzie. Today, she's nearly regained full use of her tail and arm. She's full of energy, running, climbing, and dropping down from my neck by her tail, and wanting me to blow a rasberry on her chest, a gesture similar to greetings common amongst spider monkeys.

In the coming weeks, I'll fill you in on a bit of progress we've had with Izzie as well as some of the details of her and the other babies' care. It is my sincere hope that you might gain an appreciation for what it is we do here at Wildtracks and how dependent we are on the commitment of volunteers and the generosity of donors. In the meantime, explore the site, check out the Facebook group, and get yourself familiar with Belize and these amazing animals! Until next time, friends.

John M

Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-02-15 10:46:04   [Link to this article]

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