The Making of a Troop
In the past few months, several Primates have come to RESQ - but here's a special account of 7 Bonnet Macaques that were admitted to the RESQ Wildlife TTC that came apart but were drawn together to be a troop like no other! Due to varied reasons such as illegal captivity, being orphaned, or being injured in an accident - each one of these Bonnet Macaques needed and came for treatment or rehabilitation.
An infant Bonnet Macaque whose mother had died in a road accident was transferred to RESQ Wildlife TTC by the Forest Department. After the completion of his initial health assessments and quarantine, he was moved into an enclosure adjoining that of another Bonnet Macaque to help them develop social bonds. This adult female admitted due to obesity and obesity-related health problems immediately felt a gush of maternal instincts and began showing behavioural indicators that she would like to interact with him closely. The infant also instantly became comfortable with her presence and swiftly made his way to her bosom, for warmth and safety like he would to his own mother. The female adult reacted with optimism and adopted the infant as her own, rendering us a huge ray of hope with regard to the grouping aspect of this rehabilitation process. We integrated them into a common enclosure, thus witnessing our first achievement in the making of a troop. Around the same time, 1 male and 1 female Juvenile Bonnet Macaques were admitted to the RESQ Wildlife TTC. They too were moved into the large enclosure alongside the female and her now newly adopted infant with tentative anticipation that the two juvenile Bonnet Macaques will exhibit positive primate behavioural indicators (playing, moving and feeding together) and vice versa. Immediately the adult female macaque took the two new juveniles under her wing and adopted them as her young ones. While these macaques were settling in, another couple of adult Bonnet Macaques who were held captive their entire life were seized by Forest Department, Jath and transferred to RESQ Wildlife TTC and moved into an enclosure adjoining the rest of the Bonnet Macaques who were already a troop by now.
Simultaneously, a large enclosure was built for all the macaques to cohabitate together. It was designed with enrichments to help stimulate their natural instincts such as climbing, surveying the environment and foraging. In December the 6 Bonnet Macaques were introduced into the enclosure which was to be their new home for the next months. An adult male Bonnet Macaque seized by Forest Department, Alibaug was to be the last addition to the troop.
After coming from starkly different situations, through meticulous rehabilitation, the 7 Bonnet Macaques were now co-inhabiting and thriving as a troop.
Last month, all 7 Bonnet Macaques had cleared every rehabilitation milestone and were certified fit to be released together into a suitable habitat. The troop was released into a safe habitat under the supervision of the Forest Department by the RESQ Team to live for the first time as truly wild primates.