Although she is lucky to be brought to the Limbe Wildlife Centre, our new red-eared monkey (Cercopithecus erythrotis) is nothing like a normal, happy young monkey. The man who brought her in said he had found her in the marsh – ‘Marais’ in French – but later changed his story to a market in Douala. It is often difficult to find out the truth about the history of an incoming animal, but it is clear that Marais, as we call her now, has suffered.
She is very small, but probably older then she looks. She is so skinny that her ribs stick out, which shows that she’s not been fed very well. It would be good for her to drink milk, but she doesn’t want to take it. She likes bananas and other soft fruits.
When everything is normal, Marais makes soft noises: PRRR, PRRR. But when something scares her she let us know with an alarm call: KAKAKAKA! This morning I heard a new sound from her, a loud, deep CROO! It was the storm that scared her, the noise of the rain on the roof and the lightning. Surely her mother would have comforted her, but without doubt she was killed for bushmeat by hunters.
Marais does not quite know yet what to think of me and the other people who are taking care of her now. She is basically afraid of people, but she craves physical contact and she has found out that we can give that to her. Once she decides to come to me she completely surrenders, lies on her back and wants to be stroked. To see a monkey so mixed up makes me sad, but at the same time I am extremely happy and grateful that I can be bring a little comfort.
Simone de Vries
Assistant Project Manager