How many times have we all seen tragic photographs and stories of monkeys held in captivity, chains around their bodies, as they are forced to beg from tourists or to be unwilling participants in the pet trade? It’s a sadly common form of bondage that transpires in so many parts of the world, but today I am delighted to share a very uncommon rescue of one such primate.
An Unlikely Rescue
Nguti topó is a endangered drill monkey living in Cameroon. We don’t know the full details of his early story, but we do know that he was captured along with many others in his troop and that he endured untold suffering. Yet unlike most captive primates, Nguti found someone who cared. It seems that a reverend was deeply concerned about Nguti and took over his care. He actually did a fairly good job, considering he had no true understanding of wildlife rehabilitation, but Nguti was at least well fed and sheltered from abuse. After some time, the reverand made a trip to the Limbe Wildlife Centre to determine if Nguti might be in good hands there. The moment he arrived, his worries melted away.
There is actually a fairly large troop of drills at the wildlife center. They are living in the trees there and allowed to breed and live in family units without interference. The aim is to begin returning troops of endangered drills to the 143,000 acre Mount Cameroon National Park. The area was only recently classified as a national park and therefore efforts are still underway to institute conservation education programs and a law enforcement presence that is strong enough to truly keep the animals safe from poachers. The team at Limbe feel that goal is a perhaps a few years away, but once the area is secure, they will move forward with plans to relocate the drills to a temporary enclosure there and to habituate them to the alpine forest before their ultimate release.
Nguti is Playful and Happy
For today Nguti is a busy bee. His keeper Killi says that Nguti is a “very friendly boy” and he loves to steal Killi’s hat. In fact, when Killi enters the quarantine cage, Nguti jumps on his back and begins ‘”surfing” on top of him. Since the day Nguti arrived, his spirits lifted. He is terribly eager to join the other drills whom he can see and hear from his quarantine area, but the big day will come soon, once Nguti has finished clearing a small GI infection. New animals cannot be introduced to the group until they are 100% healthy so as not to endanger the others.
Soon Nguti will be sitting in the trees alongside his new family at the Limbe Wildlife Centre. Today we celebrate his amazing new life and that of the thousands of other little ones just like him who come to the center each year, their one and only chance of healing and return to the wild. See more of the extraordinary work at Limbe