Sometimes taking a wild animal out of its environment can be a bad thing. Even if it’s being done for the right reasons.
Rescuers and rehabbers know that occasionally an animal that is harmed in the wild can never be returned. Sometimes, a parent or group will reject a former member of the family once it has healed.
Recently a student at Kingsway High School in Amanzimtoti, South Africa spotted a young vervet monkey that needed help. He had seriously injured his leg, mostly likely after getting it caught in barbed wire.
The student immediately contacted the Umsizi Vervet Rescue Center. Tracy Rowles of the Center and a team of volunteers went out as quickly as they could. But catching the young monkey was no easy feat. Even though he was severely injured he was still quite quick and agile.
But catching the young monkey was no easy feat. Even though he was severely injured he was still quite quick and agile.
This wasn’t the first rodeo for Rowles and her crew though. They knew exactly what to do.
“We tried for three hours … but his overprotective mother would not allow us close enough to catch him by hand,” Nigel Wright, a volunteer for Umsizi Vervet Rescue Center, told The Dodo. “So we came back the next morning with a metal cage that we use to trap injured monkeys.”
The volunteers put food inside the cage and it worked like a charm. Within 10 minutes, the monkey they had begun calling Pearce was trapped.
Things weren’t over though, not by a long shot. Pearce was screaming bloody murder. His family members were furious, most likely believing that Pearce was in danger.
They had no way of knowing that the crew was trying to save Pearce’s life.
“Some tried to open the door to release him, while others displayed threatening behaviour towards us by grunting and showing their teeth and making their eyes wide open and coming towards us,” Wright said. “Vervet monkeys have huge canine teeth that are razor-sharp and would inflict serious damage if they bite you.”
The volunteers didn’t give up though, even in the face of danger. They quickly sedated Pearce, wrapped him in a warm blanket and hurried him to a vet clinic where he got 10 stitches. Then Pearce went to the Umsizi Vervet Rescue Center to recover, though he used every opportunity to act up for the rescue team.
Then Pearce went to the Umsizi Vervet Rescue Center to recover. He didn’t relax and enjoy the vacation with his comfortable room and good food though. He used every opportunity to act up for the rescue team.
“He was very confident and very cheeky, and he would show his frustration by throwing his blankets around as well as his water bowl,” Wright said.
The team decided that Pearce might just need some company. So, they gave him a friend.
“Another injured 1-year-old baby was placed into the cage with him,” Wright said. “He soon took this scared little girl under his wing and hugged her and held her tight, each finding comfort in each other.”
The rest of his hospital stay passed more easily once Pearce had a buddy. Once his stitches were out, three weeks later, it was time for Pearce to go home.
That wasn’t as easy as it sounded though. Monkeys tend to roam for miles each day.
They knew where Pearce had been trapped. But, they had no idea where his family might be now.
They loaded Pearce into the truck and went out looking for his family.
“Just as we were about to give up for the day, we spotted two grey bodies … in the school soccer fields,” Wright said. “We drove to the school and walked across the soccer field to be greeted by 30 very unhappy monkeys. As we got closer, they again displayed threatening behavior towards us.”
It was obviously Pearce’s family. They recognized the team and their vehicle. And Pearce recognized his family.
“Pearce showed us he was happy and that it was definitely his troop by calling to his mother and by tumbling around in his carrying cage,” Wright said. “If it wasn’t his troop, he would have just laid flat in the cage and pushed himself into a corner.”
They sat Pearce’s cage on the ground and opened the door. Pearce jumped out of the cage and after one last look at the crew, he ran to his mother and siblings.
A large alpha male, who was presumed to be Pearce’s dad, also greeted Pearce with great affection.
“If you watch the video, you will see the alpha male come and stand beside the mother holding Pearce,” Wright said. “She reaches out and touches the alpha male. It made us wonder whether it was just a touch of reassurance to calm him down, or maybe to say, ‘Our son is back.’”
There was, of course, no way to know exactly what the monkeys were thinking. But, the crew says that the gestures between the monkeys warmed their hearts and made the release an emotional moment for them all.
For the past 11 years, the Umsizi Vervet Rescue Center has cared for hundreds of vervet monkeys, many of whom have been hit by cars, shot, poisoned or otherwise injured. To help the organization rehabilitate more monkeys like Pearce, you can make a donation.
Source: The Dodo