November 2006 – Shortly after it’s launch, the Mobile Wildlife Clinic was called to the aid of an unwanted ‘pet’. Joy is a 6 year old male stump tailed macaque, and a big one too, weighing in at over 12kg! He was owned by local people who live on the edge of the National Park close to the Rescue Centre. He had been captured as a baby when poachers shot his mother, so he could be sold into the pet trade.
As Joy matured, he became increasingly difficult to handle, and like all wild animals proved to be a very unsuitable pet, particularly since the family who owned him had young children themselves. So Joy ended up shut in a wooden crate in his owners’ front yard, where he has spent the last few years peering through the tiny gaps in the crate at the world outside.
Eventually his owners were persuaded that Joy would be far better off at the Rescue Centre, so on 4th November 2006 a team from the centre took the Mobile Clinic (sponsored by Care for the Wild) on the hour long journey to collect him. When we arrived he was pacing in his crate, which measured around 2m by 1m by 1m high, and which contained no enrichment at all.
We prepared a dart containing a strong sedative, and Nom, the head animal handler from the centre, darted Joy so we could break into his crate and retrieve him. We checked him over in the mobile clinic on site, while under anesthetics, and fortunately he appeared to be in good physical condition if a little overweight. With all the transfer of ownership paperwork completed, we returned to the centre with Joy, who recovered quickly from his sedative. He was put into an enclosure in Quarantine, which while being among the smaller cages in the centre, is many times the size of the crate in which Joy has spent the past 9 years, is full of enrichments, and from which Joy can see other macaques and a little of the world outside of which he has been deprived a view for so long.
Joy seems to be settling into his new surroundings well. After spending some time in quarantine he can hopefully be transferred into one of our larger cages or fields, to enjoy the company of other stump tailed macaques for the first time in his life. His rehabilitation will be a gradual process, but at least Joy has escaped life in a tiny crate and can begin to enjoy something closer to his natural habitat. And who knows… one day he may be able to return to the wild from where he was so cruelly taken when he was a baby.