On Wednesday (14th October) despite doing everything we possibly could, we were unable to save a young male mona monkey brought to us at CERCOPAN. This tiny mona arrived to us in a cardboard box, collapsed in a heap and shaking all over. The man who brought him in said his brother had purchased the monkey that morning and it had been fine, but during the day it had become like this. As we continued to examine the mona, we found that he had a black eye, a wound on his upper lip, was dehydrated and highly disorientated.
A mona of similar size to the young male brought in
We questioned the man further, at which point he changed his story and said he had been like this when his brother made the purchase. Realising we were going to get no closer to understanding the circumstances we carried the mona to our vet lab where our Vet Assistant, Austin, began trying to work out why the infant was shaking so severely, similarly to an epileptic fit. We were mentally going through all the possible conditions that may have caused these symptoms. The moment we took its temperature though we understood. His temperature was 42?C (nearly 108?F). We quickly tried to cool him down, gently wetting his fur and fanning him. He was still ‘fitting’, a common side effect to such a high temperature, and we held his hands so he had something to hold on to and so that he felt comforted. He was making small squeals, not like any normal vocalisation a healthy mona would make, and we could tell he was in a lot of pain.
We managed to get his temperature down to the normal level of 38 ?C and he started to reduce his shaking while becoming more aware of his surroundings. Relieved that he was becoming more stable we started to look in to the next stage of treatment. We made up a sugar/salt solution to begin to combat the dehydration and fed it to him with a syringe. Sadly, not long after, the mona started taking another turn for the worse, this time in the opposite direction with his temperature dropping.
We quickly gave him a hot water bottle and wrapped him up in blankets. He was beginning to shake again and his whimpering told us he was still in pain. Pandrillus vet Ainare did everything she could to save him but despite all of our best efforts he passed away. We were all desperately sad but also at least relieved the poor infant was suffering no longer. A post-mortem revealed massive trauma to the head, likely due to being hit with something or kicked. All of the staff of CERCOPAN had tears in their eyes and were disgusted that anyone could do this to an animal.
Later that evening the brother, who had originally purchased the mona turned up at CERCOPAN to ‘collect’ his monkey. We explained to him the circumstances of his death and that, even if the monkey had survived, it would not have been given back to him under any conditions, as is protocol at CERCOPAN. We gave him tour of CERCOPAN and spent a long time explaining to him why monkeys should not be kept as pets, and the legal implications of doing so under Nigerian law. A sad day for all here, but it made us all more determined than ever to educate people about wildlife and to provide safe haven for all of the monkeys out there that so desperately need our help.