Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Vervet Voice Dec 2011

baby Vervet monkey - (C) ZPP

Bouncing Baby Shishamba – born on the banks of the Shishamba Stream

Alpha female Juliet gave birth to baby Jumanji one year ago, at the end of December 2010. One year on and a very heavily pregnant Juliet arrived at the release site on Sunday 4 December and was placed inside the troop’s holding enclosure, where they would spend the next week acclimatising to their new environment, prior to their release back into the wild.

The very next day, we brought the troop their food for the day and left them shortly thereafter for our own lunch. Upon our return in the afternoon just a few short hours later, we discovered a tiny surprise awaiting us. Juliet had, unusually, given birth in the afternoon; many primate babies are delivered overnight.

Her newborn was still wet and so tiny. We decided to name him after the stream beside which he was born - Shishamba.

vervet monkey - (C)ZPP

After just a few days, Shishamba could already be seen trying to walk - he would take one step and fall over; another and over he would go again. He chose instead to bounce on all fours; a little more successful, though not much. He was soon trying to suck mango and water melon from the ground too.

Jumanji immediately took to his little brother and his Mum let him touch him right from the start. She was very possessive of her newborn, not letting the other females, the aunties, get too close and the males were not allowed near.

A month old now and Shishamba is doing very well, with a very plump tummy. Juliet often leaves him up a tree whilst she forages on the same tree or just below on the ground. His aunties are given more rights to him now, though they are still very wary of Juliet. His climbing skills are improving all the time and although his walking has improved a great deal, he still chooses to bounce.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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