Almost every day I walk down the path to ‘main primates’, this is where Mike lives. The sun is burning on my skin, but I am used to it. I give Mike a piece of white bread with his Bach therapy, twice a day. Additionally, I provide him with a new drop of Juniperus communis oil on a stone. I firmly position the stone between a wooden bar and the fence. This way, Mike can only smell the scent and is not able to move it. Mike is getting more comfortable every time I visit him. Most of the times, he is already waiting for me and his piece of bread. He smells it and always eat it without any hesitation. Even when I put a new drop of oil on the stone, he observes me and let it all happen. Generally, after giving him his treatment I stay with him for a while and observe his behaviour.
After a week of treatment I can really notice a change. Mike still gets restless when there are more people around his enclosure and starts with his typical rocking movement, however he does not start to byte his feet. In general he behaves calmer and slowly he is definitely changing. Mike is opening up and tolerate more people, he can handle his situation better. I am so happy for him. You can literally see when tension just slides of an animal. Mike must be feeling so much better. After three weeks of treatment, Mike completely changed. If we can continue like this, the integration of Mike with other baboons would probably will get much easier. Everything is looking positive at the moment, but there is still a long road to go.
Disturbing new hits me. The Wildlife Centre is completely stuffed and accommodating new animals is not possible. Choices have to be made in order to make sure that new animals can be accommodated. Mike is a baboon living in a crucial enclosure for integration purposes. No other enclosures are free and since Mike will need a lot of time before he actually can be integrated, a decision is made. Mike will be euthanized in order to provide room for other monkeys who need a shorter amount of time to be integrated. I realise that his is necessary, capacity is limited. This is the difficult part of working in a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
For the last time I am walking down the path to see Mike. The vet and the integration assistant are walking next to me. We are all sunken in our own thoughts. When my eyes meet Mike, I know he knows. He is relaxed and he let the animal care takers escort him into a position where he cannot hurt himself. Mike is calm and eats his peanuts peacefully. He has seen other baboons living a happy life in the wildlife centre. He experienced that there are people who care about him. This was all he needed.