There is a new member of the BLES family that I have been itching to write about. Now that she has made her debut on the BLES Facebook Page, I can share here as well. I met Abu on my first day at BLES. She is a six to seven year old macaque, who has been living in a small cage for most of her life. The owner no longer wanted her and released her to BLES. Katherine jumped into action and told the building crew, “Drop everything you’re doing, we need a monkey enclosure.”
Abu is very wary of Westerners, so Katherine, David, and I have been working very hard to show her that we mean her no harm. For weeks we’ve brought her food and sat with her everyday, watching the new enclosure going up and promising her things would be better soon. I’ve learned her body language (mostly when to back away slowly!) and have seen her pacing, pacing, pacing her tiny crate.
Today is her one-week anniversary in her new home! The building crew did such a fantastic job and then Katherine and I joined in to put in finishing touches, painting, planting, hiding fruit everywhere. The sanctuary family gathered together to watch Abu’s release. I feel so honored to have been there for the moment, filming her first steps into her new home. Brave, brave Abu barely hesitated for a second when the door was opened. She scurried down the stairs and off she went, exploring this new mansion built just for her, with hammocks, tires, branches, and her own pool. She ignored the feast we’d laid out for her for almost an hour as she hopped and climbed and ran from place to place.
To know I’d been just a tiny part of this endeavor is incredible. For one little macaque, we all banded together to build a place where she could be safe and happy, her own private sanctuary. We hope one day that another macaque will need us, so that Abu can have a roommate. In the meantime, an unlikely friendship is blossoming between her and Lady the dog.