Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Return to the wild - or not

It's a huge undertaking to get captured primates back to the 'wild' and the programmes that exist are mainly carried out in private reserves owned by organisations or individuals.

First former captives have to be nursed back to health, tested for diseases that may not exist in wild populations, integrated into strong social groups and provided with predator avoidance training. Any such programme has to be linked to education and anti-poaching activity as well as habitat protection work.

When the Monkey Sanctuary, a small UK charity, was assessing its woolly monkey troop (New World monkeys like capuchins) for release in the 1990s the cost would have been in the hundreds of thousands. Cost apart, though, a major factor that led to the decision not to go ahead was identifying one of them as a carrier of hepatitis. The woollies by then were third generation in relation to the original monkeys rescued from the pet trade. It meant they didn't have the psychological damage the former pets had, but the discovery highlighted the potential problems of disease transfer between the captive-born and wild-born animals. Also, there are land tenure complications in Latin America that mean protection of an area can't be guaranteed in the long term, and the government-run programmes generally don't allow the release of animals born outside the country.

For the capuchins, all former pets, it's even harder because they've all suffered mental trauma, which manifests itself in abnormal behaviours and can flare up in times of stress. The one in my story pulled out his fur and rocked. Then, they've all been denied a natural upbringing and have no knowledge of primate hierarchy and social skills. Many have been castrated or had their teeth or nails removed, which would affect their social standing and ability to survive in the wild. Most have had inadequate diets and some are in the early stages of diabetes, so would not survive.

As Liz Tyson of Wild Futures (the new name for the Monkey Sanctuary) says, "The act of taking a monkey from its natural environment and keeping it as a pet in the first place generally seals the monkey's fate in that it cannot be returned."

This was what the young hotel workers in my story, who were desperate to get Pepito out of the garden and swinging through trees, hadn't bargained for. More tomorrow, including an extract from the story.

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