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Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks blog


Introducing the Pre-Release Six - Second Pre-Release Group (Simon - Spartacus and Kofi)

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Behind every man is a story.

Mine is a story of a child, Simon, born about 18 years ago in a small town of Quebec in Canada. As a child, he grew around animals. Whether they were cats and dogs or rabbits and chickens, he always enjoyed the company of an animal. As years went by, it became a passion, a passion that up until recently wasn't more than that. Now, it's a completely different thing. The more he encounters those weird creatures that dwell around us, the more interesting he found them to be. But with all the options school offered, he couldn't tell where he wanted to go. So he decided to take a few steps back….

It's out of luck that I landed at Wildtracks. It was by looking for ways to get out of my daily life that I ended up looking for different travelling options. But I found more than that. I found an adventure. An adventure that, I believe, has and will have a huge impact on my life, as well as on those who have the will and heart to come and help animals which should never have been in captivity in the first place, to return to the wild.

About a year ago, I would have found the idea ridiculous. But look at me now, standing in a cage with six howler monkeys, making sure they have all they need. But why are they in a cage in the first place? Because they were confiscated from people who, unfortunately, think it's funny and cool to have a monkey as pet. Now these six monkeys, named Charlie, Paz, Fern, Ritchie, Kofi and Spartacus, among others, have to be re-taught how to be monkeys, how to move like one and how to eat like one would on its own in the jungle.
I could write about all six, but instead, I'm going to write about my two favourite: Kofi and Spartacus. Let's start with Spartacus, the only one of the six that wasn't actually confiscated. Though his story is just as sad as any of the others. His story with us at Wildtracks begins on September 8th 2011 when a night watchman near Punta Gorda found a small baby howler monkey crawling on the ground, during a heavy rain storm. The small monkey was cold, with a near-severed hand. A wound attributed to a male howler trying to gain control of the wild troop. At first, they thought that the hand should be amputated, but a talented veterinarian was able to reattach it, and it has now regained about 80% of its capacity. Now, this monkey that had barely any chances of seeing the forest again, runs, jumps and climbs happily on everything surrounding him, and is being prepared for release.

Let's conclude this with Kofi's story. Fortunately for her, she didn't live through something as tragic as Spartacus did. After being confiscated, she arrived at Wildtracks with little to no problems. She still had to learn how to behave as a monkey, but she was progressing very well, and was due for release in 2011. The problems started a little before being released. Kofi, one way or another, managed to break her arm. Because of that, she had to be sent to the veterinarian to be helped. This happened during the same timeframe as Spartacus was being fixed up by the vet. So after being together in the care unit for a while, Kofi adopted Spartacus and now, they are inseparable. To this day, they are both in the same cage jumping on each others backs, playing…and Kofi still provides motherly care.

So this is what I have to deal with every day. It is awesome!

Soon to come - six howler monkeys running near-free in a brand new pre-release enclosure!

Published by: Zoe Walker at 2013-02-27 16:24:06   [Link to this article]


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