Do you want to help orphaned baby monkeys get back into the wild in four to eight weeks?
Do you want to help injured vervet monkeys recover sufficiently to return to their troop, or to be given a safe sanctuary to live?
Or do you simply want to be surrounded by primates and have a strong desire for wildlife conservation.
At the end of 2012, the Vervet Monkey Sanctuary in South Africa, had 534 monkeys. The Sanctuary takes in orphaned, injured, abused or ex-pet vervet monkeys, rehabilitating them into natural environments, or where possible, returning them into the wild.
Arrivals in 2012
33 vervet monkeys arrived at the Sanctuary in 2012 with the addition of 1 samango monkey who arrived from another rehabilitation centre, 4 bushbabies were brought in having been found in the road, 1 buck also arrived who was taken to another rehabilitation centre.
Orphaned Vervet Monkeys
The Sanctuary is designed to handle orphaned Vervet Monkeys of all ages and more specifically designed to cope with large numbers of babies that become orphaned each year. This has been made possible with international volunteers and gap year students getting involved.
Their programme can return an orphaned baby monkey back into a wild state in four to eight weeks. This is achieved by introducing a baby to a female in one of their resident troops, living in natural environments at the Sanctuary.
Orphans & Foster Mums – the process
All eight orphans were successfully integrated with foster mums during 2012. The Sanctuary has been able to successfully introduce monkey foster mums to orphans forming a bond similar to that of mum and baby. This has proved most successful with those under the age of 3 months but has also been successful with orphans up to 6 months.
The process starts with teaching the orphan to drink from a bottle, then to go into a cage and drink by himself. Then an adult female enters an introduction cage on the side of the enclosure, where she can bond with the orphan, but also remain part of the troop. It is vital that humans supervise from a distance at this stage to allow for bonding. Other females and juveniles are let in so they can meet the new orphan gradually.
At the age of approx 3 months the orphan is ready and independent enough to explore the enclosure and live naturally as a troop with staff simply providing milk in the feeding cages within the enclosure. Both non-humanised and ex-pets have been successful foster mums.
Orphans & Foster Mums – the reality
November to February is the season for orphans. Whisper was the first orphan of the season and arrived on the 23rd October still with umbilical cord and placenta attached, found by a hunter.
They then had 3 orphans arrive close together, starting with Pickle, whose mum was shot, Daisy, whose mum was also shot and then Gordon, who was found and looked after by a kind couple until he arrived at the Sanctuary. The final orphan during that period, was Braveheart, who was found clinging to his dead mother in the road.
All five spent their early days learning how to climb and interact with each other, then they gradually spent more time in the Intro cage where they met a few of the troop monkeys, in preparation for the monkeys to become foster mums to them. They also learnt how to use the feeding cage so they can find their own milk before they can get monkey foster mums and live out in a troop.
After a hard start in life, all the babies are now happily living in the troops with new foster mums, learning how to be monkeys again 🙂
A massive thank you goes out to all the staff and volunteers for their sleepless nights ensuring the traumatised babies get the best possible care, and monitoring the progress of the orphans with foster mums being integrated into troops. It’s wonderful to see them have such a close bond living as a family, as if they have lived there forever…
Volunteer veterinary nurses and technicians
Volunteer veterinary nurses and technicians gain great experience in working with this very difficult primate when it comes to administering medications, treatment and de-worming and this year was no exception, with the veterinary nurse having her hands full with minor injuries and stubborn monkeys.
The Sanctuary relies on the help of volunteers to continue to save these beautiful vervet monkeys, and desperately need more volunteers to help with this essential and rewarding work. Please do get in touch if you’re interested in working with primates.
Volunteers don’t need any prior experience, as you will be taught everything you need to know. More important is enthusiasm and an interest in conservation 🙂
For more details about volunteering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website www.amanzitravel.com