Chairmans Blog

Monkey Business

21st October 2014 - By John Hicks

There have been bad weeks and there have been bad weeks but this last week takes the biscuit! You name it and its gone wrong!

If you forced yourself to read my last dialog you will recall me saying how difficult it was to type with Nissa the baby monkey running across the key board. Well she got bored with that! She also got fed up with me paying attention to the laptop rather than her, so she decided to do something about it! I was sat on the bed with the laptop on my lap but holding the screen for safety to stop Nissa doing any damage to it. However, Nissa went up on the wall behind the bed and made a flying jump of about 12 feet and landed on the very top of the screen. She landed with such force that it was catapulted out of my hand and off my lap going high in the air before it fell to the floor. Amazingly it did not smash but the hard disk is totally ruined and all the work I had done in the last week which I was about to print off is lost! Having achieved her intention she then leapt into my arms and put her arms around my neck as if to say "Why waste your time with that stupid thing when you can cuddle me!" Even more amazingly is that she is still alive!

Nissa in a quiet moment...
Nissa in a quiet moment...

Yet another horrendous thing that happened was that two of my monkeys that have lived together for 10 years suddenly decided to kill each other. When monkeys fight they hold no punches and the wounds were terrible. It is estimated that 80% of all Macaques die in the wild from injuries from fighting! What is worse is that one of the females got caught up in the fight and she also suffered some dreadful wounds.

Two of my vets, Lysandra and Abhishake came to the Tree House (my house) backed up by Myla, my Head Nurse who has been with me for 14 years. Needless to say it is not that easy to catch two fully grown extremely vicious male Bonnet Macaques even when they are in a pen. However, eagle eyed Myla, who is brilliant with a dart gun, soon had them knocked out. To give an indication as to how bad they both were the vets started operating at about 2.30 pm and finally finished at just gone 8 pm. Both Snatch and Grasshopper were lucky to have such talented vets to put them back together. They will now be kept in small cages whilst they recover and I am left with the difficult task of having to inject them both each day. Needless to say they will not be able to go back in a pen together which leaves me with yet another massive headache!

Because there was not time to operate on the female, Shivani, Abhishake and Myla returned the next morning. Thankfully female Bonnet Macaques are not generally vicious with men and I was able to grab her by the tail and inject her to knock her out. It took over 4 hours to repair her wounds.

At the same time this was all going on the Forestry Department arrived with another baby female Langur monkey. There were no out ward signs of injury but we were told she had been hit on the road so we took her to the centre and x rayed her and thankfully nothing seemed amiss. It was not until I was lying on the bed with her cuddling her to calm her down that I realized she had been electrocuted. The tell tail signs were on her hands and feet where the skin had been slightly damaged. Clearly it was not from a high voltage wire and in many ways she had been lucky. However she was in shock and refused all food and drink. I sat up with her most of the night talking to her to reassure her and comfort her; finally she went to sleep on my chest with me stroking her. Thankfully the next morning she felt relaxed enough to take rehydration fluid from a syringe and later that morning I finally got her eating. She clearly has minor nerve damage as she only seems to be able to turn one way but I am certain this will pass. She is almost identical in size to Nissa so with her by now being reasonably fit I thought it would be good for both of them to be with each other. This was not to be! Monkeys are almost as horrible as humans! As soon as Nissa realized that the new baby was not fully able to defend herself Nissa attacked her savagely and I had to literally pull her off with Nissa desperately trying to get back to continue the assault.

As if all the above was not bad enough on my way home from the centre during the week I came across a bull with a horrific growth on its foot. The poor animal was in such pain that it could not put it to the ground. I immediately called the centre but most of the staff had left as it was late and the ambulance we use for cattle was already out on another call. Thankfully I managed to get two members of staff out and we caught and tied the bull. As it was so late we decided it was safe to leave the bull tied to tree and to collect it in the morning. We managed to get a bucket of water and food for the bull and asked the local people to keep an eye on it. In case of problems I left my phone number and told them to call me if there was a problem. When the staff arrived early the next morning someone had untied the bull and let it go!

It amazes me how people can ignore the suffering of an animal that is in such pain but the local people seem totally oblivious to it. For over an hour my staff drove around asking everyone if they had seen it but no one had. How people cannot notice a large bull hobbling around on 3 legs mystifies me! I have been back every evening and spent hours trying to find the poor creature but it is as if it has simply evaporated. The thought of that poor bull suffering so badly keeps me awake at night. We are now flooding the whole area with leaflets asking for information about the bull but so far not a word in response!

So another eventful week has passed and I am even closer to that nervous breakdown that always seems just round the corner! I just hope I have some good news for next week's blog!

I just simply do not believe it! I really thought this week could not get worse but it just did!

Harsha, one of my monkey staff at the Tree House, only left both the doors open to Ruby's pen! How one can leave two doors open when the whole idea of a double door is to stop monkeys escaping is beyond me. What is worse is that Harsha has done this before and Ruby literally wants to kill her. By sheer luck I was there when Ruby escaped and if it had not been for my quick reactions Harsha would have been badly savaged. Ruby leapt at Harsha but I managed to reach out and block her. However, Ruby was just about to take a bite out of Harsha and because I put my hand out Ruby bit down hard on my finger. Her teeth went in either side of my nail and virtually went right through and another tooth bit down to the bone on my knuckle. Realizing she had the wrong victim she quickly let go and tried running in pursuit of Harsha but again my quick reactions enabled me to grab her tail. Even with having hold of Ruby's tail Ruby tried to drag herself along the ground to continue her attack. It was not until I managed to get my arm under her and pick her up that she settled down to some extent although it was quite obvious she still wanted to get free.

Rubys Smile
Rubys Smile

Thankfully Ruby worships me and I can do anything with her and can even take food out of her mouth. However she is extremely dangerous, like most female Macaques she hate women and will attack anyone that comes near me when I have her out for a walk. I just simply love her!

Just to add insult to injury Dennis a young Bonnet Macaque also escaped at the same time as Ruby but his passion is phones and he dashed into the house found Jo's phone and ran off with it. We are finding little bits of it all over the garden. Strangely enough it is no longer working!

Anyway I dread to ask the question, "Can anything else go wrong this week!" After all there is still almost 3 hours to go!

Hope all of you have had a better week than me!

All the best