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Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

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The Big Move!: The Nursery Babies and their New Home (contributed by Nursery inhabitant, Paige)

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Some big things have been happening for a group of very small monkeys in the Wildtracks nursery lately! The youngest monkeys that we fondly refer to as “the babies” have recently moved into their new indoor-outdoor caging unit upstairs. They now spend nearly all day together playing, practicing their climbing, and developing the social skills that they will need to keep their troop tightly bonded as they move through the rehabilitation process toward eventual release. I have had the pleasure of caring for Suri, Jessie, JW, Chippa, and Bean over the past four months and I am delighted to be able to share with you some of our recent experiences together (and our plans for the future).

Making the big move into the new nursery cages has been a bit of a process for the six of us. Before the cages were installed about a month ago, we were bouncing around between the side room, the bunkhouse, an outdoor play cage, and a new room built into the upstairs addition. With all of the moving around, we didn’t really feel like we had a place to call home. Thankfully, that has all changed and we are loving our new setup in the nursery. The gorgeous custom-made cages (thanks, Carlos!) consist of a large outdoor enclosure bathed in sunshine (when the rain finally stops) with a beautiful view of the lagoon and its south easterly breeze , and a smaller indoor portion used mainly for sleeping and escaping bad weather. A window connects the two adjoining units, and the babies love walking the tight rope that allows them to move in and out as they please.

My days are spent supervising playtime in the cages and joining in on the fun whenever I find the opportunity. (Mind you, playtime is all the time, so I do find myself “behind bars” with my charges for a large percentage of most days. The jury is still out on whether I may be losing my human social skills and actually turning into a monkey ). Despite the daily confinement, I am extremely grateful for all those who contributed to the Wildtracks Nursery Unit Appeal and made this new enclosure a reality. This move marks a very important step in the rehabilitation process as the monkeys are transitioning from being completely attached to their carers and sleeping within arm’s reach (as they would in the wild with their mothers) to branching out on their own, developing independence and confidence, and forging vital troop bonds with each other. Thank you all for your donations and continued support.

“The babies” are quickly growing out of their given name (both physically and emotionally) and have made huge progress in the past few weeks. Suri and Jessie are completely settled into their new home and were happy to sleep in the big, new cage (which can be very intimidating to some young monkeys) just a few days after first playing in it. Chippa, JW, and Bean have not yet made it to that stage and still sleep in their kennels where they feel safe and secure, but I am confident that they will all be sleeping together happily in no time. Bean and JW are still very attached to Paul and myself respectively and are not happy spending much time away from us; but this is expected as they are the two youngest members of the troop and still have some growing up to do before they will be comfortable on their own with the other monkeys.

All in all, I think these past couple of months with the babies has been a testament to the effectiveness and success of the Wildtracks primate rehab program. To go from having five baby monkeys all under six months of age, each struggling with his/her own ailments and challenges, and each cared for by a different volunteer to having a cohesive group of confident and independent (some more than others) young monkeys living together and loving life, in just a few months, is quite a respectable feat. Here at Wildtracks we have proven that with an enthusiastic team of volunteers, appropriate rehab facilities, and support from a generous group of donors and collaborators, we can accomplish quite a lot.

So please: Volunteer! Donate! Get Connected! The Wildtracks community is an extremely rewarding group to be a part of, and I have certainly cherished my short (but ever increasing) time as a member. I’m sure you will too.

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Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-09-19 12:50:19   [Link to this article]


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