LILONGWE WILDLIFE CENTRE NEWS: From our Integration & Rehabilitation Co-Ordinator, Alma van Dorenmalen
This is four year old yellow baboon Aruby who was kept as a pet for many years. The previous owner rescued her when she was raiding crops in a maize field and farmers started to chase her. They said they wanted to kill her for bush meat, which is unfortunately a common practice in Malawi. The man who rescued her kept her in his garden where he made a special hut for her. Although this man was poor he shared his food with her and provided her with everything he could. Still, it is an illegal practice to keep wildlife as a pet and after neighbours started to mention that they wanted to kill this baboon for the meat he got worried and fortunately had heard of our rescue centre and decided to bring her in.
Last week the re-socialisation and integration part of Aruby’s rehabilitation started. She was placed in a night enclosure next to our baboon troop. This way the troop can come over and interact with her through the fence. Aruby can decide whether she likes this, or back away when the contact is too overwhelming. She hasn´t been living with any other baboon for years, so by providing her the choice of interacting or not she can slowly meet individuals from our baboon troop.
The first day she was really nervous and was seeking comfort from my side when members of the baboon troop came over. After a couple of days, she was already playing with Billy, Hugo and some other younger baboons through the fence, paying less attention to me while I was observing her. These are all good signs to start with. The next couple of weeks I will focus on identifying which individuals are spending a lot of time and who has positive interactions with her.