A Real Shock

5th May 2009


Manuel, the baby bonnet macaque, got a real shock this week. He was playing in the kitchen while his evening meal was being organized by John when he suddenly took fright and in a wild panic fled the kitchen, the house, and ended up on top of the tallest monkey pen in the garden. Despite tempting with his favourite foods, also getting his best friend Baldrick out on a long leash to tempt him down, he wouldn't budge and just sat trembling out of reach of our tallest ladder. After 3 hours, and by now in total darkness, he was in danger of getting taken by one of the large predatory owls that are often around, so in desperation John went and picked up Angela, who is his P.A. and one of Manuel's favourite people. Luckily Manuel was almost instantly tempted down by her and seemed only to glad to get a reassuring cuddle.

We were at a loss to understand what had caused the panic and fear of both John and I, but a check in the kitchen next day gave the explanation. The sub-standard Indian wiring to the kitchen extraction fan had worn through, exposing bare wires, and clearly Manuel unobserved had chewed on this, resulting in a nasty electric shock. In his monkey brain this was a pain inflicted by John, since he was present, and me by association. Also of interest in how monkeys think, Daisy , who was our first rescued baby, was inside the cage that Manuel climbed, and she would never normally be aggressive towards John ,but because Manuel was in fear of him and believed he had caused the pain, he somehow transmitted this to Daisy, who began attacking John fiercely from inside the pen and for several days following she would get aggressive at the very sight of him By the morning Manuel himself had stopped blaming us, but he is still very nervous of coming into the kitchen, and it will obviously take him a while to forget that jolt.

On a brighter note, Manuel, Baldrick and Pixie the langur, are now playing together, without resorting to fights and bullying, not only is this good for Pixie, who has never really had anyone to play with as he has always before spoilt it by bad behavior or been bullied himself, it also means for the first time since being rescued a year ago, I can leave him in a pen for a few hours at a time without feeling terrible with his previous endless pathetic calls for mummy, when with his friends he doesn't give me a thought!

They all go to the pool together, although Pixie does not go in the water. Langurs unlike macaques are purely vegetarian, and therefore don't have the instinctive behaviour of the more liberal macaques who dive and swim naturally to look for food such as Shrimps, shellfish, crabs etc in rivers and the shore lines to supplement their diet. Whether Pixie will adapt to going in the water in time, especially as he sees his friends swimming has yet to be seen, he gets soaking wet anyway, as they jump straight out of the water to tussle with him, but as yet he has not been tempted to put even a foot into the water.

Word has somehow got out to the palm squirrels that this is the place to be. Alexander has now been joined by 2 more rescues. At the moment they are lot smaller than he is, but when they are a little older, hopefully they will all go in together, then we can start to ponder what to do with them!

Linda, who helped before in staying here to care for Daphne on her last trip, has returned to Goa from England and is going to be taking over the care of Pixie and the babies till August, as John and I are returning to Europe till then. She and Steve a regular English volunteer, will also take over the Blog till then.

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