On the road to freedom. The journey begins at Bambelela for another group of orphaned and rescued monkeys.
Each year about 30 orphaned baby monkeys arrive at Bambelela, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center nestled in the beautiful Waterberg mountains in South Africa. These tiny monkeys (Silke and her team call them ‘pink faces’) arrive traumatized and frequently injured. Silke and her team nurture them with great care until they are ready to be introduced to a new family.
Each year numerous confiscated monkeys, generally kept as pets also arrive. These habituated or imprinted ‘living toys’ must learn to be monkeys again. Silke and her team know just what to do. Although, Silke tells me, this process is far tougher than raising the orphans and the success rate of getting them integrated into new families not as high.
Each year after careful nurturing entire monkey troops are released into wild places and given a second chance at living free. It takes between three to four years after a troop (new family) is organized until they are ready for release.
Why so long you might ask? First, the newly formed troop needs to get to know each other. The new family consists of monkeys of all ages and both genders. Silke chooses them very carefully, having watched them for months she knows their personalities well. Second, it’s not until a few babies are born that the troop solidifies.
This past week a new troop (which Nikela is going to name) was formed. It consists of 15 young monkeys from Kindergarten and 8 from the former pets group. MK is one of the Kindergarten monkeys. We will keep a close eye on him as our grandchildren sponsor him.
Over the next weeks Silke and her team will observe this group of monkeys. Some fighting is normal as they adjust to each other. However, if any monkey appears to be a misfit it will be removed and wait for another ‘family’.
Moving these monkeys from the comforts of their existing enclosure to the transition one takes a bit of coaxing, lots of patience and good timing. Silke and her team are experts at this. Okay, there usually are some humans wounded in the process. Monkeys, like humans get scared. When they are scared they bite.
However, today all are safely in their new home and checking things out.
Stay tuned for the name of this new troop and how they progress through their years of becoming a new family on the road to freedom.
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