Riley’s amazing journey. The story of another successful integration

This story starts as most stories, the arrival and meeting of the main character. Riley. But why is his story so important to me? Not only because Riley’s integration was my first ever integration but, mainly because this little monkey stole my heart the minute he arrived at the Vervet Monkey Foundation. Arrival of a …

Caretaker vs vervet monkeys: the struggle of deworming wild monkeys

At some point during your animal caretaking job, animals get sick or injured and you need to give them something. And here is where the journey begins… (After years giving meds, I still don’t know why they can’t make them taste nice for the animals. That would make our job so much easier!) If you …

My first experience as animal caretaker: working at a monkey island with baboons in the Netherlands

A monkey island in the Netherlands? That small and cold and rainy country next to Germany? That is the Netherlands you mean?  Yes, that is the one!  Now you might wonder why there are monkeys on an island in the Netherlands. Well, let me explain: This place is called Stichting AAP and it is one …

Mika and her journey from pet to wild vervet monkey

If you have seen my previous post you will already know who Mika is. If you didn’t, don’t worry, you can have a look at it here!. At the Vervet Monkey Foundation, when a vervet monkey arrives, it goes straight to quarantine. And of course, so did Mika when she arrived. Quarantine sounds scary (especially …

My last month in South Africa and how I almost lost my sanity

And here it came, my last month in South Africa. Having spend almost two years at this place, I could barely imagine myself being somewhere else. But things always change. Nothing stays the same forever. That is one of the life lessons my parents taught me (but let’s not get too philosophical). My one goal …

An animal that provokes fear with only saying its name. This is the burden of the snake

When I started my job at the zoo, my first concern was that I had to take care of snakes and other reptiles. I had never done that! Luckily for me there was a caretaker that had a lot of experience and taught me how to take good care of them. Of course I started …

prairie dog

Living underground? Let’s see how the prairie dogs do that.

Every time I walked out of the zoo kitchen, the first animals I saw were the prairie dogs. Always working, always looking for food or watching over their domain (like night club guards). I always wondered how their underground city looks like. I know theoretically how the structure of this city is (different chambers connected …

marmoset hiding

Never seen a tiny monkey? Let me introduce you to the common marmoset

When I first saw a marmoset I was very surprised. I had never seen a monkey so tiny! Now I work with a group of four males: Harry, Draco, Potter and Malfoy. Draco is the alpha male and he often behaves as a real leader by puffing his fur to look bigger and scarier. Harry …