Angelica is one of our newest orphans, she arrived late August (see August 24th article). She is a female Red Eared Guenon, only found in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria.
She was found by rangers from Iko Esai’s surveillance team when they were patrolling the community forest. Angelica was tied to a hunting shed, but no hunter was around and her mother was nowhere to be seen – likely she has been killed for meat. The rangers brought Angelica back to our forest camp, Rhoko. There she was looked after by volunteers for a couple of days, and was sent to Calabar with the truck to receive proper medical attention and care. At first, she was hardly using her rear legs and we were afraid she might have a permanent injury, but this turned out not to be the case. She now uses her legs correctly.
Angelica, a few days after she was rescued
During the first days in Calabar, Angelica was very shy and needed a lot of attention. She had to be carried by someone (a substitute mother) at all times, and would start screaming and crying as soon as you would (try to) leave her alone! The only moments of rest for her caretaker was when she was asleep! After 5 days she became more confident and started to wander a few meters away on her own. After a week, a Mona guenon orphan was brought to us, Evie, and they were put together. Evie, being a bit bigger and extremely playful, was a bit “too much” for Angelica at first, as she did not like Evie’s jumping displays. Eventually, Evie understood that Angelica was not up for games, but only for cuddles! And they became very close friends. Actually, Angelica seems to have taken Evie as her new mother, clinging onto her belly the way baby monkeys do with their mothers. Her removal from her real mother has definitely traumatised her, and she is now panicking at the idea of losing her “second mother”, Evie. If we separate them even shortly, she will scream and will not stop calling and looking for Evie until they are reunited! She is a strong minded little monkey, she knows what she wants (whether it be Evie, or a hug from her!) and lets everybody around her know it too 🙂
Angelica (left) and Evie (right) cuddling
I would like to express my appreciation to Jan for her donation to help rehabilitate our now famous baby clawless Otter ‘Eve’. Jan is an Otter expert and has been advising us on Eve’s care since her first days at CERCOPAN. As primate specialists, we are new to raising otters, so all of the advice from Jan and other otter experts has been invaluable. We are hoping to try to move Eve on to fish soon which here in Calabar is very costly, so these funds will really help.
Thanks again for everything Jan
Baby clawless otter Eve exploring her new home
Eve resting and being quiet for once!
As anybody who works with animals will say, rehabilitating orphaned babies of any species comes with its risks. Trying to raise a baby who has been separated from its mother in an unnatural environment will inevitably be a difficult task, particularly when not much is known about the species. Two weeks in to our newest member’s arrival here at CERCOPAN we were reminded first hand just how delicate a young orphan can be.
After an extremely successful first week with the orphan she suddenly came down with an overwhelming lethargy just a few days ago. Having spent so much time with her, within just a few hours of noticing subtle changes in her behaviour we knew something was wrong and enlisted the help of a number of vets from across the globe in helping to diagnose the problem. After a few hours of careful discussion it became clear that the new milk we had recently started the baby on wasn’t being metabolised correctly by her body. The specialised milk was extremely high in fat and her little body couldn’t handle it and so wasn’t taking in any of the essential nutrients she needed. It was decided to begin treating the baby with an oral fluid therapy to keep her well hydrated and to switch her back immediately to the soy infant milk she had been taking before and to ensure she got plenty of rest. We watched and waited overnight desperately willing her to make it through the crucial first 12 hours and to our amazement she woke up the following day markedly improved. From that point on she has continued to gradually improve becoming more and more active and alert every day.
We have worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure she gets all of the milk, fluids and rest she needs to continue getting better. Whilst she is not quite out of the woods yet, we are delighted with the progress she has made over the past few days, she has proved herself to be a little fighter. She still experiences periods of increased lethargy but these are now interspersed with prolonged play sessions and a very healthy appetite and we are confident she will continue to go from strength to strength over the next few days.
We would like to thank everybody who has assisted us in diagnosing the otter over the past few days. The advice we have been given has been invaluable and we are almost certain she would not be here had we not received such help from Grace and the IOSF, Spanish vet Ainare, Vet Wendy Simpson in the States and Peter from Pandrullus here in Nigeria.
We will keep you updated on her progress and are also delighted to announce that she is officially named, “Eve”. It is thought that the ancient Kindgom of Calabar was the original “Garden of Eden” because of its green and lush environment. As such, we thought the name, Eve was fitting for this unique and strong willed little otter!
On 27th June a tiny baby otter was brought into CERCOPAN after her mother was shot by fisherman in Bakasi. We think she is approximately 50 days old are are hoping to rehabiitate and release her back into Rhoko, our bush site. Immediately after she was brought in, CERCOPAN staff contacted the International Otter Survival fund in the UK who have not only provided advice on rearing the young cub, but have also offered to send special milk and vitamins out to Nigeria for her to get us started. We are also receiving advice from Helene Jacques an expert on African otters. A big thank you to them for all of their help. We are not entirely sure yet whether she is a Cape Clawless otter, a Congo Clawless otter or an intermediate between the two and to be certain we will need to wait until she is a little older and her markings become more pronounced. Either way these otters are very rare in captivity and very little is known about them so we are recording as much information as possible. Keep checking back for photos and updates on her progress over the coming weeks.