Reports from the Field

Daily report from each week on the Primate Rehabilitation project

Jpseph Kizior - Primate rehabilitation in South Africa

Thursday May 19th

I woke up at 3:50am for morning feed. That’s when we take the food/pourage/water bowls and put them in the marms (marsupuals) cages. It’s pretty easy but I had to wake up early, and it took me from about 4 to 530 am. I did morning feed with Rosey and she told me what to do and then went off to do another section. Lourie the French woman/volunteer woke up once I finished and started helping Rosey. After giving all the marms their food I had to fill up some hot water bags for some of them to sleep on since it gets cold here at night. I went back to sleep after that for a few hours until I got up for work at 9. I started the day giving the marms their supps. That part is easy and honestly pretty fun. After that I went around with Rosey to check bowls and do top offs which is just topping off the food to the monkeys that need it. After that I can’t remember exactly what I did, I think I fed some capuchins and then we had lunch by that time. After lunch I cleaned the house and then we had monkey time. Monkey time is once a week when the short timers, like me, get to go into the cages and just play. I went into the Gold handed tamarins and they were so fun. After that work was over. (or so I thought). After work I decided to shower and then shortly after it turns out I had to do bowls at 6. This is when I have to go around to all the marms cages, remove the bowls, and then bleach clean and then soap wash them.

Thursday May 26th

Today was long. I had to wake up at 350 for morning feed. Woke up before my alarm though so I had a small bowl of cereal for some energy. Rosie was getting the water ready for the hot water bottles we set up at the end of morning feed. After my cereal her and I went outside for a cig, discussed what we had to do then got to work. I gathered the marm food bowls (for all 26 enclosures) together and went to do that while she did the bigs. After I finished giving all the marms their bowls I look in the container to find that I forgot one. And I knew Rosie wanted to finish quick and go back to sleep so I ran past all the enclosures to see what I missed. Couldn’t find any so I was about to give up, did one more check and found it. I also forgot to open a trap door so it was good I made extra rounds. After that I helped rosie give out some of the bigs’ food bowls and then I went to fill up the hot water bottles. After that we put them in together and I went back to bed for a couple hours. When work started around 9 we only had 3 people on staff but we still got a lot done. Skipped marm supps today. Immediately started with top ups for all the bigs and littles, going around checking what they all need. Got back, mixed pourage and prepped fruits and veggies for the enclosures that needed it. Usually everyone eats except the one rhesus macaque, Spartacus, we have and the squirrel monkeys. Everyone else usually isn’t so picky. The barbs love their green the most but eat well. Everyone picks out grapes. The spider monkeys and capuchins are pretty picky but if they don’t see their favorites they still eat. After food prep Caitlyn and I topped off all the food bowls. After that Caitlyn went to clean Ambers’ enclosure, our papas monkey. Rosie and I each cleaned a Mona monkey enclosure, she did shapken I did Braxen. We scrubbed and scraped all the hard surfaces. We also had to replace all the hay on the ground and any dirty blankets if they had any. I helped Rosie before starting mine so rosie was done before me then her and Caitlyn started on Spartacus’s enclosure. After cleaning all that it was lunch. We took our two hours. I had a salad and a couple sandwiches. After lunch we did after noon rounds and top ups and then since it was Thursday us short timers, Caitlin and I, had monkey time and we both chose to go in with treats into the squirrel monkey enclosure. That was fun. After monkey time I helped Craig give a few supps out to the bigs. We did one last late afternoon top ups and then we were done. I was on bowl duty today though, so after work around 520 I went home to eat, then Rosie and I went back to collect the marm bowls. We let them soak and then washed them all to be used again for the next day.

Tuesday May 31st

Today was a good day. One week left before I leave. Time flies by. When I first came here I thought three weeks was going to be too long, but the closer I get to leaving the more I appreciate everything here, the people, the atmosphere, the monkeys.

Today started out like most. Go around and check enclosures for top ups. I took Biaa and we cut food together and did top ups together. After top ups Rosie took the new girls to do marm supps, during that time I was doing something else, I can’t remember, when I got back they were already on their way to top ups so I began doing some dishes and then I helped Craig do the bigs’ supplements, preparing and distributing. Then I went around with Craig to distribute some medication to the some of the big monkeys. We do this by putting the medicine into treats like marshmallows or Cheetos. The medicine is usually for joint aches some of the older monkeys have. A couple get anti-biotics after seeing the vet. After everyone got their supplements and medications all the volunteers helped clean the lowers’ enclosure, all three new girls, Rosie, Louise and her boyfriend who was visiting, and Craig and I. Although Craig didn’t do much and neither did I as far as cleaning goes. Craig came in a little bit just to instruct to me what to repair, as in hammocks, swings, and other enrichment toys/things for the capuchins. That took us about an hour to an hour and a half and took us up until lunch. I took down the last wheel barrel of rubbish to the trash hole, past the rescues, and on my way back I said hi to Randy who is one of my favorites. He was friendly as usual. Lunch passed and then Biaa and I did afternoon top ups and then after that I fixed some of the marmosets’ food platforms that were causing trouble. That took me about an hour, and by that time it was 4pm, time for pellets. I did the bigs’ pellets today which I never did before. Almost the same as doing marms, just with the big monkeys, and not hand feeding like we do for the marmosets, instead I put them either in their food bowls or special trays they have. After I finished that I fed some pellets to a couple marms and then I was done for the day.

Primate Rehabilitating Volunteer Project in South Africa



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Joseph Kizior