“She was about 8 years old when we found her. Elizabeth would steal fruits and vegetables from a local store. The owner was frustrated with her thievery and decided to act. He threw acid on her when she snuck in the next day.”
Thankfully, Elizabeth was rescued as soon as news of this incident reached the ears of authorities. It took a while but she slowly began to heal – physically, mentally and emotionally.
“Elizabeth lost her eyesight, and with that, a part of her died. As an experiment, we introduced her to a young orphan. The maternal instinct worked like a charm. Today, you can’t tell she is a blind macaque, especially when you see her be a mother to the young ones who need nurturing.”
You might colloquially call her a monkey, but she’s really a bonnet macaque (a unique species). Elizabeth is a wild animal. She belongs in the jungle swinging from tree to tree, foraging for her favorite fruits and taking care of a large family. However, our passion for advancement has encroached on her territory, forcing her to live in the human world where she was always in a race against survival.
Losing the instinct to survive is the worst curse
We have a responsibility towards caring for these macaques because, most of the time, we are the reason they land up in PFA’s care. Our development has crunched up their natural habitat, making them susceptible to accidents, electrocutions, falls from tall buildings, human conflicts, abuse in captivity and territorial attacks.
“This is the story behind most of our macaques. They get blinded, lose their limbs, left orphaned, and sometimes develop such a strong bond with the humans from their time in captivity that it takes a lot of effort to help rehabilitate them so they can be released in the wild again.”
Rani was raised as a pet. She lived chained in a cage for over a decade. Although she was well-loved and cared for, she lost her natural instincts
. She would have died in the wild. As macaques are illegal to own as pets, Rani had to be confiscated from her owners.
At PFA, she was examined to assess her physical and psychological situation. After that, she was placed in an isolated enclosure to observe her behavior and eating habits and then moved into a single enclosure placed next to the other macaques so they can slowly socialize, pick up on habits and interact through the bars. When she was ready, they introduced Rani into a socializing care where she quickly took on the role of mother to a young one. As the young ones grow, they along with Rani learn to fend for themselves, how to forage, swing from tree to tree, and essentially be a macaque, these creatures will be released in the wild.
When love becomes a health risk
"Sometimes, a macaque who has spent a long time in captivity, never really forgets his bond to the human world. It is quite dangerous to release these creatures into the wild as they will eventually find their way back to our world and end up getting hurt all over again."
Put yourself in his shoes. Loved to bits by everyone around you. Fed until you are stuffed, and this is not just dal roti but greasy rich food like bajjis and bondas. In fact, Maruti lived a royal life in a small village near Kengeri where he even got to smoke cigarettes and beedis for free. The problem is obvious, all that food, sitting around in a cage, royal treatment as we call it, made him so obese that he could not stand up or climb a single step when he entered PFA’s care. We all know the downside of obesity. It affects monkeys just like it does for humans and even more as they are more active.
Maruti needed a strict diet, round-the-clock care, and a whole lot of therapy to lose some weight get those muscles working and start learning how to live like a macaque. Although he has picked up lessons on the macaque life, Maruti loves humans way too much to be alright in the wild.
A mother cares, it is in her nature
Babies are rescued and hand-reared until they are old enough to care for themselves. Thanks to the amazing maternal instincts of macaques, PFA depends on Elizabeth, Rani, and even Nanny to raise these young orphans until they are ready to be released into a socializing enclosure and then into the wild.
They are not all that different, these macaques and us. If you look at their behavior, how Elizabeth or Nanny hug and comfort each other, or how Rani cares for the children, or even how Maruti is socializing with his peers, you see their social instincts are a lot like ours. Their lives are valuable too, and they need help just like we do to get back on our feet when tragedy strikes, especially as we are the reason for most of their troubles.
How can you help?
Join us to nurture 35 rescued macaques and give them a life they deserve until they can make their home in the wild.
Break of Funds for the 35 Macaques for 8 to 12 months.
- 1 Neonate & 17 Juveniles
- 10 Life time members
- 7 sub adults
Food & Veggies (Goat milk, fruits & Vegetables)
Maintenance of Enclosures
Rehabilitation & Veterinary
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