BABY PHOOKA ARRIVES

7th April 2011


The recent arrival of a tiny baby langur monkey has meant several weeks of sleepless nights and constant worry. He weighed just 400grams, and had fallen from his mothers grip when she was killed, electrocuted on a power cable. He was very lucky to be picked up and brought to the rescue center.

Being so young and small it proved difficult to get him to take and digest milk formulas. For several days different formulas and quantities were tried before he started to adapt to the strange diet and circumstances. Happily now he seems to be thriving and although still needing 24hr care, he only needs a bottle every 3hrs, rather than 1? hrs, and has even started to eat some vegetables and baby cereals.

Phooka (goblin) now weighs 800 grams, and I am helped by some long stay visitors to goa, who have volunteered to baby sit him for a few hours at a time. Monkey babies are never separated from their mothers, and any attempt to move more than a few feet from him still results in a major panic attack. To hand over to a baby sitter means wrapping him up completely in a towel and disappearing quickly. After a few minutes of screeching he accepts a new mum but is still desperately happy at my return!

He wears nappies and plastic pants in bed and wakes me for a bottle by jumping up and down on my face till I respond. Phooka is our 3rd langur, they are India's largest monkeys weighing 21 kilos as adults and are generally a shy forest dwelling and leaf eating species. They are entirely different in their needs and character from the Macaque monkeys we have here. Macaque babies quickly becomes self reliant, eat almost anything and are altogether much bolder and more adaptable.
Phooka has made good friends with one of the 8 resident dog rescues 'Urchin', who is very tolerant and allows him to pull her whiskers and ears and generally bounce all over her.

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