But before I tell you all the serious and boring stuff about me, I want to tell you a story.
Well, it isn’t actually a story.
It's THE story on how I saved Rox, a little vervet monkey of 3 months old.
It happened one year ago, when I was working at the Vervet Monkey Foundation in South Africa.
It was a hot sweaty day when we got a call. A woman found a baby vervet injured next to the road.
A big car hit him and his mum. Instead of looking if they were ok, they just left them there.
When this woman found them, the mum was already dead. Miraculously Rox was still alive and holding his mum very tight.
He was terrified and seriously injured. Both of his legs were broken and he was in shock.
We didn’t know if he was going to survive his trip to the vet.
After a tough surgery that went for hours we could take him to his new home: the Vervet Monkey Foundation.
He was finally in a save place, where no one could ever hurt him again.
He was not out of the woods yet.
The first days were crucial for his recovery. He needed to drink milk and rest.
And after a few hours with him, I could see that something was wrong.
He was not a happy monkey.
He could not climb and move around like normal baby monkeys do. One of his legs had a pin and the other one had a cast. So, moving around was not easy.
And to make it a bit more difficult, he refused to drink milk from the bottle. This was crucial for his recovery.
He needed his strength and to learn how to drink by himself so that he could meet his foster mum.
Like in most species, having a mum is vital for your survival. Not only because they protect you from predators and danger, but also because babies learn the most important social behaviours from their mums.
For vervet monkeys it is not different. They spend their first year in very close contact with their mum. The babies cling on their mum’s belly or back, they learn how to behave and stay out of trouble.
I spent many days with him in the quarantine cabin, or how we call it at the VMF, Neverland.
Days and nights.
Nights and days.
But he didn’t want our comfort and was mostly sitting by himself in a corner. He was much more independent than the other baby monkeys, but of course he was also a bit older, traumatized and didn’t understand humans.
They had killed her mum and now he was all alone spending his days with these horrible creatures.
After some days of adjustment, luckily he was eating solid food fine. Bananas and apples were his favourites.
He could literally die for a piece of banana.
But that was not enough, he needed more to be able to get stronger.
We had been trying to add different things to his milk to make it more tasty for him, but nothing seemed to work.
I remember when one of my colleges said: “Rox really doesn’t seem happy, and trying to give him his milk is mission impossible... He only drinks a few mls every hour. If he keeps refusing to drink we would need to inject SC fluids to keep him hydrated. And still that isn’t a solution because he needs to drink independently to be able to get to know his foster mum.”
We were all so worried about him.
So, I rolled up my sleeves (figuratively because in this heat you only wear a t-shirt) and started trying different smoothies, mixes and soups, like a witch making a new potion.
Out of frustration, after trying all the complicated mixes, I just tried one last thing.
A very simple thing.
So simple that I actually didn’t think it would work.
When I gave it to him, his face changed. He got closer and started to drink, but not just a few sips.
He drank the whole thing in a few seconds!
THE. WHOLE. BOTTLE.
And after that, everything changed.
He changed so much, that neither of his caretakers thought it was possible.
Are you curious about that miracle smoothie I gave Rox? Do you want to know the end of this story?
Subscribe here and I will tell you. You will be surprised when you get to know how easy the solution was!
Also, besides Rox's story, I will tell you about a blind monkey called Bell and how she managed to find a new family or Mika and her journey from a pet to wild monkey.