Photo: Poorly Bono
Bono, one of our gorgeous Gibbons, has been fighting a serious illness – and the Keepers have been caring for her, night and day. They’ve even been coming into work in their pyjamas to check on her.
Bono, a Mueller’s Gibbon, is one of our oldest primates, having recently celebrated her 35th birthday. She’s normally sprightly and active, leading the singing, and grooming the other Gibbons… but on Sunday 26 January we noticed that she was lethargic. Something was clearly wrong.
“Our Keeper team sprung into action”, says Head Keeper Lisa Walser. “Illnesses can come on rapidly, especially in older primates, so there was no time to hang around.We initially isolated her to a room next door to her family, so she could still feel close to them without passing on any infection. We made her comfortable with soft bedding and extra heating, and contacted our Vet who came straight out and monitored her throughout the night.”
Since then, she’s received round the clock care and attention. Initially, the outlook seemed very gloomy. She was refusing to eat or drink, and had an upset tummy.
“We were so worried that she could have cancer”, says Lisa. “However the urine tests showed that she had a severe kidney infection. This was causing dehydration and giving her a sore blistered throat which is why she wouldn’t eat. She was immediately given injections to tackle this, as kidney infections can be fatal in primates, if they’re not treated quickly”.
Our team will be carrying on with our 24 hour care until Bono is back to full health – she has a long way to go, but we are hopeful that she will make a full recovery.
This weekend, we’ve had a breakthrough. Bono has eaten a tiny amount of solid food and accepted water from a hand-held bowl. She’s also managing to stomach small quantities of diluted cranberry juice, which will help get some vital vitamins back into her system so that she can fight her infection. Our next step is to slowly introduce food. These apes are mostly frugivores (fruit eaters) but also like feasting on young leaves and insects.
“It’s been so worrying”, says Lisa. “But thankfully we are seeing improvements. This weekend, the other Gibbons were singing to mark their territory… and Bono joined in, before leaping around in excitement. She just couldn’t have done that a week ago. Wish her well – we have everything crossed for her at Monkey Haven and you can be sure that she’s getting all the care and love that she needs!”