This wildlife rehabilitation center provides sanctuary to approximately 200 animals. As in many African countries, using wildlife as pets, the bushmeat trade and poaching is very common in Malawi. Many orphan monkeys are sold at roads as pets. Of course they look very cute, however after a couple of weeks those monkeys grow and develop behavior that is not appreciated by its owner. The result is that many of these monkeys get abused and dumped. If they are lucky, they end up at the wildlife center. This is exactly what happened to Morris, the Vervet monkey. Morris is a tiny and very cute monkey, but totally traumatized. He was abused by people….why…we do not exactly know. When he came in, he had two swollen eyes and a dislocated wrist.
Morris is very timid and gets very stressed when people are around. When I get closer to his enclosure, he jumps nervously from one side to the other. I am moving very slowly, trying to get his bowl of food into his enclosure without completely stressing him out. He looks at me with these big eyes and when I close the door, he jumps down and immediately starts filling his cheek pouches with food, still keeping an eye on me.
Another Vervet monkey has been integrated in his enclosure for company and for Morris to learn more social skills. Morris is my first project here, since the vet asked me to look into these specific cases with high levels of stress and traumatic experiences. High levels of stress can be reduced to some extent, by trying to avoid contact as much as possible. Still, the situation here is not ideal since his enclosure is in the quarantine area. In this area people need to prepare food for a lot of animals, this means that are a many people walking in and out during the day. Also, every day enclosures need to be cleaned. So avoiding contact is difficult. This means that is better to get Morris mentally stable in order or him to deal with the situation and reduce his stress level.
I have high hopes for Morris, since he is still interested in new things and curious. However he just needs some extra help. I have worked out a plan for him and hopefully I will be able to help this little guy out.