Monday, February 18, 2013

Bushfires and Bushbabies

The start of my last week at IPR and it kicked off with a bushfire and a new emergency arrival. Word of the bushfire came during lunchtime while I was doing obs on Brandy. Her new enclosure is under construction (I spent this afternoon painting the roof), but she and some of the others are quite disturbed by the noise. Suddenly Sue appeared, calling for Solomon and Sydney, the two men who work here full time. Just at the same time, Tom, Bren, and Toby all came back from the pool to let us know. Although not a large bushfire, it was rather close to the mona monkeys’ enclosure. Fortunately, eight people with beaters were able to put it out. Nevertheless, it does show how dry the ground and grass is; even with the heavy storms we’ve had on occasion, the ground is too hard and dry to absorb the moisture so it simply evaporates with the heat. 

Another interesting point was the lack of concern among the neighbors who just see the fires as “one of those things”. When you have a large number of vulnerable monkeys, the fire risk takes on a much more serious tone as even the smoke could do serious damage and evacuation would be a nightmare. Volunteers will probably be digging fire-breaks within the next few weeks as the season gets drier and the risk higher.

Two week old bushbaby, Melvyn.
We also had an emergency arrival this afternoon: a two-week-old bushbaby that is apparently quite ill. Some people brought her in after finding her and not knowing what to do. Our volunteer vet nurse, Emily, is keeping a close eye on her. If the bushbaby makes a full recovery, it will then go up to Polokwane where a friend of Sue’s has another young one (they do better in pairs).

Construction, fire, emergency patients – a busy day in all and more to come. I think a storm is blowing in and it’s been a few days since we last had a big one. This may put a dampener on the pool party currently taking place for those leaving tomorrow. On the other hand, they may just move the festivities into the bar….

P.S. One more event today that I almost forgot to mention was being able to observe Chino and Willow go rockstar in their sleeping quarters. Jax had cleaned out their room and thought we might like to see how crazy they go when they head back inside. Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe it; these two could put The Who to shame for smashing up a room. They leapt around, chasing each other, wrestling, pulling things over, smashing anything they could get their hands on. Capuchins are very cute and they thrive on destruction so this was a wonder to watch, not to mention another reminder as to why they should not be kept as pets.

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