Over the past few weeks we have been very busy at Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) doing the final preparations for our 2017 primate release. The absolutely brilliant Dr Ntombi Mudenda Nkonde from UNZA Veterinary Department joined us on several occasions to firstly health screen our troop of rescued vervet monkeys to ensure they are disease free and fit to be released back to the wild, and to last week radio collar 5 of the adults so that we can track, monitor and support the troop in their transition back to a wild life.
For many this will be after years on the end of a short chain held illegally in captivity, and laterly held in small night rooms whilst being rehabilitated at Munda Wanga. It was great to have UNZA vet students assist Dr Mudenda as this helps develop Zambia's future wildlife vets! We were thrilled that all monkeys were passed fit for release as we continued with our final pre-release preparations.
And now for the best bit!!!!!
After 18 months of blood, sweat and tears, today is the day we have all been working towards at ZPP. 22 vervet monkeys, each with their own tragic story of abuse at the hands of humans, are on the road to freedom - literally!!!!!!! Yesterday we trapped and crated up 22 monkeys (above) that we had rescued and integrated into a troop over the past year and a half and loaded each onto the truck (below) that would transfer them to our release site in Kafue National Park. The truck is on the road as we speak. We will bring you updates along the way as they acclimatise to the wild in a temporary holding enclosure we have built for them deep in the bush, as we carry out the predator avoidance training that will equip them to survive in the wild, and when the doors are opened and they are free at last.
For updates on these releases, please visit the ZPP Facebook page here.