The Special Monkey Home

The Special Monkey Home was build for primates who are disabled, orphaned, elderly, blind or otherwise unable to live happily in the Monkeyland forest. We also welcome disabled primates from other locations in South Africa, and countries abroad to come and live out their lives with us. A similar project is underway at Birds of Eden and Jukani.

All of the primates in our Special Monkey Home are here due to their quirks, disabilities and/or old age. Some have poor eye-sight, others have had limbs amputated and some are well, just old and grumpy (or crazy). But, to us, they are all very special.

We are not sure where they all come from or how they became `special` – it is often simply better not to ask.  I would not euthanize my mother if she had a limp, became blind, was a bit long-in-the-tooth or had diabetes. Ditto are our `special monkeys`, we will provide the best care we can until their last days.

These are the current species and individuals whom live in The Special Monkey Home

Black-handed Spider Monkeys:Meet Tarzan, Jane and Prince Charming. Tarzan and Jane used to live in the tea garden of a pet shop in the Pretoria district. Years of dining off hamburgers and chips soon resulted in them losing most of their teeth and becoming rather obese.  To top this off Tarzan had skin cancer and had to loose a small portion of his tongue – he now drools more than ever.  Jane, on the other hand, is a compulsive groomer.  If she is stressed she grooms her body until it bleeds.  It is therefore essential that Jane remains in a calm and caring environment.  She also requires an environment where she does not get crowded (hence the Special Monkey Home). Then there is Prince Charming.  There is nothing charming about Prince Charming.  He is not even blessed with good looks.  Prince Charming has a bulging eye, a club foot and he is missing the majority of his tail.  To top this of Prince Charming is bordering on crazy, has an intense hatred of tripods and gets amorous when he gets his hands on some mint.  He loves to rub the mint all over his body as he grunts, drools and quivers with excitement!.

All three our spider monkeys are now happy in a natural environment, being fed a correct diet. Spider monkeys are from South America and one of the few species of monkey with a fully prehensile tail (except for Prince).

Ringtailed Lemurs: Uno and Perfect were both injured at their previous homes somewhere in South Africa. Uno’s eye could not be saved and Perfect lost one of his one arms and he is unable to bend one of his rear legs (probably due to a botched up vetenary job or neglect after his leg was broken). Surprise really was a surprise! One of our rangers found the little baby whilst cleaning one morning. He had seemingly been abandoned and suffered an injury to his leg which sadly had to be amputated. We are still unsure exactly who his mother is, but Pacer takes good care of him!  Daddy Perfect has since been snipped, with his leg up (the unbendable left leg) it was too easy for him to get his leg over.  No more making babies for Perfect.  The Special Monkey Home is not the ideal nursery – the residents are to `special`.

Blondie, Bimbo and Betty are 3 unpopular Swedish girls who used to live inside the Monkeyland forest. They were constantly bullied by the other Monkeyland Ringtails so we decided to move them to the Special Monkey Home. The 3 girls love it there. Pacer is an old female who was pushed out of her group at Monkeyland, a common act even in the wild. Pacer was injured in the process and for her own safety was moved to the Special Monkey Home.  Pacer no longer paces, but the name stuck.  Ditto re Bones, she was skin and bones when we found her abandoned in The Monkeyland forest.  Her jaw was broken, and her ear was torn and infected, but this little thumb-sized baby pulled through.  Today a more appropriate name would be Flash or Dash, but Bones she will remain.  The broken jaw resulted in Bones having a scew mouth – or severe side-bite, but she is happy and healthy, and at the end of the day this is all that matters.

Black & White Ruffed Lemur: Moskito (Mozzie is his nickname) is a real bundle of fun! Having been thrown from his nest three times by his mother after he was born in the forest, his front arm was broken in six places and had to be amputated. Hand –reared by Lara from Monkeyland, he now enjoys climbing trees and irritating his companions with his boundless energy! Mozzie now has a buddy named Tiger.  Tiger was temporary blind due to an head injury she sustained a week or so after birth.  Tiger has therefore hand-reared by Lara, but she has since been introduced to the individuals at the Special Monkey home.  Tiger`s arrival has pleased Mozzie greatly, cause he now has a young friend to impress, court and boss-about.

Douroucoulis or Night Monkey: Douroucoulis are the only truly nocturnal monkeys in the World and due to their night time activities they are unable to live in Birds of Eden as they disturb the roosting birds. Being very gentle creatures they are also not suited to living in the Monkeyland forest with dozens of boisterous capuchins and so they live at The Special Monkey Home, enjoying the peace and quiet. In the wild, Douroucoulis come from South America. They are monogamous and our male (named Wobble) and female (Jessie) thankfully got on very well with each other.   Jessie fell pregnant in 2011 and produced a little baby girl we named Luna.  A month after Luna`s birth, Jessie misjudged the distance from one tree to another and missed.  Jessie fell to her death.  Luna had to be cared for us humans for a while, but she has already been introduced back into The Special Monkey Home forest.  the good news is that her and her daddy are best of friends. We will introduce partners for them during 2012.

Cotton-Top Tamarins: Tamarins are very territorial and as two groups are currently living in Birds of Eden it would not be wise to try and introduce a third group and so, this family of cotton-tops live in the enclosure next to the Special Monkeys where they are very happy. Tamarins are from South America and cotton-tops inhabit a very small part of Columbia. They are currently listed as one of the top 25 most endangered primates. As with other Tamarins and Marmosets, only the dominant female will breed and generally give birth to twins. The rest of the group will then help take care of the infants. ‘Tongue-flicking’ is a unique Tamarin behaviour as is used to show aggression or during mating.

Capuchin Monkeys: Picasso dilikes human children, so he can not free-roam the Monkeyland forest, he is joined by Atifer and Finito in the Special Monkey Home.  Picasso is a 14 year old neutered male.

Atifer is an elderly primate whom was sent to us by Stighting AAP in Almere (Holland).  She is a confiscated laboratory primate, fortunate to be rescued by AAP.  She came to live with us at Monkeyland in 1999, but is not capable of surviving without extra care special for much longer. Atifer fell pregnant again this year – imaging your grandma has a baby! We thought that we would lose her and her baby during birth, but fortunately both survived. In order to prevent future pregnancies, and to ensure that Atifer snacks on the correct food, vitamins etc, we have moved her and her (final) baby Finito to The Special Monkey Home July 2012

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