Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Back to the Wild

18 April 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Rescue News, Primates Campaign News

Avoiding snakes, leopards and birds of prey along the way!

It’s been a really busy 3 months for GRI – Zambia Primate Project (ZPP), set up by and with on-going support of the Born Free Foundation since 2002.

The ZPP team have been preparing 29 rescued vervet monkeys for release back to the wild. All of these monkeys are victims of the illegal bush meat and pet trades in Zambia, having suffered immense cruelty at the hands of humans. Many were rescued from lives on the end of short chains in towns and villages in Zambia.

It has been a long process rehabilitating these animals back to good health and preparing them for a life back in the wild. ZPP’s pioneering work includes teaching the monkeys how to recognise and avoid predators, including snake, bird of prey and leopard.

ZPP carry out this training using a remote controlled bird of prey, a wooden snake on a fishing line, and a hand-crafted life-size leopard on a sledge pulled along by an invisible wire! Along with presenting the physical predator to the monkeys, a sound recording is also played of the vervet monkey alarm call for each. Did you know that their alarm call is totally different for each predator? During the training, the monkeys reacted really well, joining in with the alarm calls and taking the right avoidance actions to protect themselves.

When all of the monkeys were passed as fit for release following their training and health tests, 4 were fitted with radio collars and they were then transferred to Kafue National Park into a temporary holding enclosure deep in the bush.

There they spent the next 2 weeks acclimatising to the sights, sounds and smells of their new environment before they were released to the wild on February 29th. We are pleased to report that they are all are doing well and adapting to their new lives of freedom. The ZPP team will continue to monitor and support the monkeys for the next 12 months as they transition back to the wild.

To learn more about ZPP or to volunteer visit

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

Share | |