Recent rescues have brought two amazing little Vervets into our care. They are the fallout of tragedy as both were orphaned when some terrible thing separated them from their mothers. But such dramatically opposite consequences awaited them before coming into our care!
Coffee, as one of the youngsters has been named, was found and rescued by Rob after he saw the little monkey being dragged along the road in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) at the end of a piece of rope. He could see that Coffee was in a bad way and managed to negotiate to buy him. He learnt that Coffee’s mother had been killed and eaten by her captor. When we received Coffee into our care he was so thin, weak and dehydrated that we were not sure that he would survive. But once again the awesome skills of our vet, Dr Kerry Easson, and the unrivalled love and care of fellow Monkey Helpline coordinator, Carol, have paid dividends and Coffee is now a healthy, bouncy and extremely mischievous little monkey who will start his journey towards full rehabilitation that will eventually see him released into the wild with his new troop to live as all Vervets should!
For now Coffee has adopted Carol as his mom and spends almost 24 hours a day with her, just as he would with his real mom if she were still alive.
Coco, as the other youngster has been named, came to us after being seen in a tree next to a restaurant and literally jumped onto the shoulder of the man who was coaxing him down. Monkey Helpline received a call from this person asking for advice on how to look after a young monkey and also how to obtain a permit from the conservation authorities tokeep him as a pet. After establishing exactly where the monkey was being kept, Carol convinced the man that he would not be given a permit to keep the monkey as a pet as this was against the law in KZN, and also that keeping monkeys as pets was both cruel and impractical. She also explained how so-called “pet” monkeys become very frustrated at not being able to live as nature intended and usually end up biting humans, something almost unheard of regarding wild, free-ranging Vervets.
And so we collected Coco and brought him home. It was immediately obvious that whatever dramatic events had separated Coco from his mother and troop, he had been found and cared for by extremely loving humans. He is the most tame and gentle little monkey imaginable. He was spotlessly clean and smelt divinely of incense. But he had also been chased and bitten by free-ranging monkeys after being separated from his human surrogate caretakers, as was obvious from the small but painful injuries to his tail and one wrist. Also, when he was introduced to Coffee and the other monkeys in our “high care”, he was terrified and hid himself down the front of Carol’s blouse, a sure sign that his recent experience of monkeys had been both frightening and painful. Fortunatey he has gotten over his fear of other monkeys.
How different were the first experiences with humans that Coffee and Coco must have had after losing their mothers!
Now, after almost two weeks in Carol’s care, Coffee and Coco are inseparable friends, constantly vying for their newly adopted human mother’s attention and creating havoc as their rough and tumble playing leaves knocked over and knocked off ornaments, books, CD’s and a zillion other household things scattered in their wake. No food on your plate is safe from their insatiable curiosity and so mealtimes for humans have become “quiet time” in their holding cage for these two urchins. Eating human food off human plates, as Coco is doing to Carol’s son, Jordan, in the pic above, is a total “no-no”!!