A stuffed toy is this abandoned capuchin monkey’s mamma

Jun 20, 2017

MYSURU: Abandoned by its mother, a tiny primate at Mysuru Zoo now has a cuddly soft toy for company. Staffers are hand-rearing the baby using the stuffed monkey, which is acting as its surrogate mother.

The newborn tufted capuchin monkey (TCM) is under round-the-clock observation in the incubator. Buoyed by its previous success story, the zoo is again trying its luck at hand-rearing the baby primate. A year ago, a Hamadryas baboon was rescued by zoo officials after they noticed the mother wasn’t taking care of it nearly a week after birth. The newborn was given a stuffed toy to make it feel comfortable. Mysuru Zoo is facing a similar challenge.

Zoo executive director K Kamala said, “We have been nurturing the TCM baby for a month now. The keeper has been tasked with looking after it at the zoo hospital. We are using the stuffed toy to make our job easier. The newborn won’t feel that it doesn’t have a mother. Initially, we were feeding only milk to the baby but now we are offering watermelon too.

Our observation revealed the baby was not being looked after by its mother even three weeks after birth. We waited for some more time but in vain. The primate was growing weak by the day. We decided to hand-rear the baby as the mother had completely abandoned it,” she added. It’s common among the monkey family to abandon the newborn. However, another mother that gave birth in December 2016 is taking care of its baby, Kamala said.

“For the first time, a TCM baby is being hand-reared. It is responding well. A team of vets is looking after the monkey and will continue hand-feeding it for one or two months,” she added. The zoo has nine capuchin monkeys, excluding the one being nurtured.