Monkey mayhem in Goa
Chaos broke out at the Goa Rescue Centre recently - a whirl wind called Panee arrived - the latest baby monkey to have been rescued.
Panee was rescued after a tourist phoned our centre and reported that someone in Calangute was selling a baby monkey. Immediately John Hicks, our Chairman in Goa, rushed to Calangute Police Station to pick up a police officer to apprehend the man. The man tried to escape, almost knocking the police officer to the ground, but John rescued the monkey and after a scuffle he managed to force the man into the back of his car to take to the police station. At the police station the man gave details of where he was living and John and the police went to search the property for other monkeys but no more were found. It is gratifying that the police are now going to great lengths to assist IAR in our work.
Unlike our other seven rescued monkeys in Goa, which are all Bonnet Macaques, Panee is a Rhesus Macaque and the differences are quite amazing. Bonnet Macaques are instinctively afraid of dogs whereas Panee plays for hours with all the centre’s rescue dogs. In the wild Rhesus Macaques strike up friendly relations with dogs in their area and are often seen playing with puppies. Although Bonnet Macaques like water, Rhesus Macaques simply love it and are wonderful swimmers, often diving right down under the water.
All monkeys are naturally inquisitive but Rhesus Macaques take this to extremes because of their high intelligence. Unfortunately this causes the chaos as everything has to be investigated and one of the first things to discover is whether or not an object bounces. Everything that isn’t screwed, nailed or too heavy to move hits the ground. If this does not break it further attacks are made. One greatly favoured item is a tube of toothpaste: within seconds the top is off and then great fun is had trying to see how many surfaces can be covered in it before it is snatched away. Trying to eat is almost impossible, food is grabbed and, if not considered edible, it hits the floor. Trying to use a plate is a disaster, as you know there will be a monkey sitting on it before you have started eating.
Sleep deprivation is another problem. However this is no laughing matter. Because of the terrible trauma suffered by little Panee he is terrified of being left on his own, even for a few seconds. At night he sleeps with his arms firmly around John Hicks’ neck but wakes up screaming and hysterical at least three or four times each night. Clearly he is suffering from nightmares a result of seeing his mother killed and being dragged away from her warm body. The suffering of these poor creatures before they get to the market is simply unimaginable. Needless to say most die within the first few days after capture, but many others have a more lingering death as they are fed the wrong food and die partly from lack of nourishment and partly from fear. Thankfully, thanks to IAR and the cooperation of the police, this trade is being stamped out in Goa.