A baboon living here at the wildlife rehabilitation center specifically caught my attention while I was already working here for some time. Mike an adult baboon, has a traumatic history like a lot of animals that come here. He was living in a car in someone’s backyard and did not receive the attention he needed. The car was a wreck and it was the only area Mike was able to live. A big baboon living in a car isn’t the best environment, another thing is the heat from the sun.
This baboon was brought to the vet clinic because he had a big laceration on his back. His back was completely torn over a large part of his spine. The owner declared that Mike wounded himself in the car. However, in the vet clinic it appeared that this wound looked too similar to a cut from a big machete knife. After Mike was stitched up in the clinic he was brought to the wildlife rehabilitation center for further support. The wound healed well, no infections or other complications. Unfortunately Mike started to show disturbing behavior. He makes this typical movement where he crosses his hind legs, uses a toe to grab his other leg and starts to move up and down. He starts behaving like this when people are focusing on him, or when there are too many stimuli around him. If the focus remains on him, his behavior deteriorates: his movements becomes stronger and eventually he starts biting and shaking his feet. He doesn’t actually conflict any wounds on himself, however this behavior is far from normal. Before he can be integrated with other monkeys, he needs to learn how to behave more like a ‘normal’ baboon. Too many stimuli clearly stresses him out.
When I sit in front of his enclosure, observing him and talking to him, he first approaches the fence. He is not afraid. Still, Mike starts with his typical behavior when I try to connect with him. You can actual tell that he has serious problems with direct contact (non physical) and this is not only with humans, with other monkeys as well. He is like a closed book and no one is allowed to go behind this big wall he build.
Mike gets easily frustrated when other monkeys are around. Everything that was once in his enclosure he has broken. The last couple of weeks, he broke five water basins. He definitely needs a way to relieve his tension. The environment he is living in at this stage is difficult to change, since a rehabilitation center has limited capacity. Therefore we provide him with as much enrichment as possible like branches, bamboo puzzles, seeds, bottles with peanuts, rice and other things. As long as we can keep him busy. Besides enrichment I started giving him a bach mixture composed of: Star of Betlehem, Honeysuckle, Cherry Plum, Willow and Crab apple. This mixture will help to relieve some old trauma, this is needed in order for him to be able to learn again. Furthermore, he can smell the scent of Juniperus communis oil. The scent of this oil has a calming and relaxing function. Additionally it provides structure (mentally). Mike will benefit from this: more peace, less stress and more living like a real baboon.