Written by: Linda Herud
I was driving down the road to visit a friend when I noticed a dead vervet monkey in the middle of the road, as I swerved to avoid it I noticed some movement and a tiny little face peering up at my passing car.
I pulled over and went to look, only to find a terrified little baby still clinging onto its mum. I reached down expecting him to make a run for it but instead he clung onto me and tried suckling my finger. Being a sucker for little animals he was picked up, wrapped in my daughters blanket and brought home.
We got home and tried to feed him some baby formula; he seemed to take very little but wasn’t overly keen on it. Then we noticed our border collie taking a huge interest in the little guy and vice versa. Our collie had seven puppies of her own at the time and amazingly she allowed the monkey to latch on to her and drink away!
The monkey thrived from then on, although we had to remove the puppies eventually as the monkey started to get a bit possessive and wanted all the teats to himself!
He turned into quite the little character and took to my daughter and one of her teddies too which he slept with every night. However we were concerned about our dog’s puppies not flourishing and their mum taking on too much in raising another baby and thought it best to find a place where the monkey could be released into the wild.
We got in touch with Wild is Life, a beautiful wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Harare, that had several vervet monkeys, and other young primates, that the little one could bond with. We met the lovely people at the sanctuary and were so happy to leave the little monkey in their capable hands. He quickly formed a bond with a baboon being raised there at the same time called Holly, in fact the day we left him there he climbed onto Holly as if to tell us he was quite fine in his new home and accepted his new playmate.
I had a very sad daughter for a few days and had to resort to buying a fluffy monkey teddy to take his place, not quite the same though. The teddy seems to enjoy being bathed a little more that the actual monkey!
Unfortunately the monkey passed away a few months later in an accident. He was playing with Holly in the trees and fell. Although the team tried fruitlessly to perform CPR on him his neck was broken. He was doing so well and was a bright little star at Wild is Life. Sadly, the tragic stories are too frequent when dealing with wildlife, losing an animal is not something that the team at Wild is Life ever get used to and the loss is felt by the entire team.
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