PULLING INFANT MONKEYS:
One person's personal experience
Kari Bagnall (of Jungle Friends Sanctuary) has taped this process and I think she plans to put it in
her updated version of "So You Think You Want A Monkey?". A video for prospective and new
"owners" of primates. So people can see first hand the trauma of pulling a baby monk from it's
When we noticed the baby capuchin was having trouble gripping her mother, we tried to leave her
on there for as long as possible, hoping that the two would straighten things out and the monk
could be raised by her mother. But after another day, we realized that that was not going to be a
possibility, as she was suckling less often than she should also, and we decided that it had be done.
First thing to do was block off two exits. One to outside, and one that led to the secondary half of
the habitat. As we were in a building housing other monks, it was also necessary to lock all other
monks (especially mom's rather large, aggressive, protective male companion) outside also, to
avoid causing them more stress than the situation already would.
Then we donned our protective gear, and grabbed the net. As soon as we started walking towards
her (talking softly, trying to soothe her) she climbed to the top back corner of her cage, clutching
her baby, and began to screech. (she knew what was coming, you see, having been rescued from a
breeder). Just the look in her eyes and the terrified screaming was enough to break our hearts, but
we HAD to save the baby.
She continued her screaming as we unlocked the door to her habitat, and then began to alternately
scream and threaten. But very soon she was trying to evade the net, and attack at the same time,
all the while holding that baby as tight as she possibly could. Finally we netted her, and you
wouldn't believe it could, but the screaming got worse. As they pulled the baby from mom, her
scratching and fighting back as best as she could without harming her child), I ran out the door,
made sure it was securely shut, and ran into the house (with her screams following me all the way)
to heat up the bottle, put my mask on, and fastened my "cape"( A piece of furry material). As we
cross-foster and not "raise", we become monks when taking care of the babies, as opposed to them
becoming human. When they opened the door and brought in the baby, I could still her mom's
After the baby was fed, and settled, I went out to see mom, who was still whimpering, as she sat
despondently in a corner of her cage. Not even the loving attentions of her "man" were making her
feel any better. And she gave me one long look, and then turned her back on me. She refused to
have anything to do with us for days, other than occasional attempt at attack.
Until the day the baby was old enough to say hello to her mom for the first time since being
ripped away. The baby made those contented hiccup noises upon seeing her mother, and she
wouldn't do it for any other monks. This after being with us, and not seeing mom, but seeing other
monks (ones that lived inside the house) for a couple of weeks. And mom, well she gave the baby a
once over, and then began to gently groom her, all the while making pitiful little noises. And me, I
stood there sniffling and trying not to cry.
Even the mothers who mutilate, and later on show no feelings towards the children that were taken
from them, and seem to hate everything and everyone, refuse to just "hand over" their children.
They scream, and they fight, and they hold tight to their babies. After all, though the maternal
instinct is stronger in some more than others (just like humans), they are STILL a mom, who's
having their child taken from them by force.
I hope I did an okay job of describing this experience. But unless you've been through it, or have
seen it happen, I don't think you could truly understand the heartache it causes (in those of us who
love the monks, and in the mom, and in the child).
Something to think about, the author prefers to remain anonymous
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