LILONGWE WILDLIFE CENTRE NEWS: This week we have been checking the health status of one of our troops of vervets. Health checks are carried out for each group every three years to make sure they are all fit, healthy and up to date on all of the necessary vaccinations. This time it’s Roger’s troop! Each member of the troop must be captured, one by one, and anaesthetised before they get their once over, which can be quite a tricky process…
Once asleep they are weighed and given a full-body check including their skin, fur, eyes, ears and teeth. A faeces sample is taken as well as a blood sample to assess their white blood cells. They are vaccinated for tetanus and rabies, tested for TB and also given an anti-parasitic to protect against worms.
The staff here spend a lot of time monitoring the troops and are generally pros at identifying each monkey just by their distinct individual differences. But, to be sure, a snapshot is taken of every member so that we have their facial features and teeth on file, and are also given a unique combination of ear tags – replaced if needs be during their health check.
When the health check is complete they are monitored closely to make sure they wake up okay and in good time. As soon as they are back to their usual cheeky selves they are able to return to their troop and get right back to swinging through the trees.
We hope we can one day release this troop into a nearby national park but until then, they’re in safe hands!