We’re so sad to report that beautiful Djebra – a Red-Tailed Guenon, who was the only one of his kind in the UK – has passed away at the age of 24.
This characterful monkey used to be an illegal pet in Israel, until he was confiscated by the authorities and given his ‘forever’ home with us nearly 10 years ago. While he was a pet, he learnt to use a spoon and carefully washed all his fruit and veg before eating it – to the Keepers’ surprise, he kept up his fastidious habits when he came to Monkey Haven. He was massively overweight when he arrived, due to being brought up on a diet of junkfood, but soon slimmed down and became much more agile when he started eating healthily. He proved to be very dextrous and held the record, among our monkeys, for the fastest time in opening a jar of seeds (an unrivalled 20 seconds).
Djebra had dramatic mood swings that led to him being nicknamed ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ by the Keepers, who adored his feisty personality, but would never go into the same enclosure, due to his unpredictability. He resisted all attempts to pair him up with a suitable lady. “He probably thought he was human, not a monkey, due to the way he was bought up”, says Monkey Haven’s Founder, Don Walser. “However a couple of years ago, we introduced him to the Colobus Monkeys – as they live together in the wild – and they just clicked. Djebra became the King of the Colobus Monkeys, and kept all the others in line. They will feel his loss now, as we all do. Monkeys grieve, just like humans do.”
For the past 20 months, he’s been a regular at the Vet, with numerous health problems including allergies and blocked sinuses that needed several courses of antibiotics. We are lucky that he survived so long and the Keepers have been giving him methol vapours, and even extra strong mints, to try and ease his nasal passages and help him through. When he refused to eat, they would spoon feed him flavoured water, to try and keep him hydrated.
Sadly, his condition took a turn for the worse, and he started sneezing blood and struggling to breathe. There was nothing more that any of us could do, apart from stay with him until the end. He passed away peacefully yesterday, with the Vet and the Keepers at his side.
Don Walser, Founder of Monkey Haven, added: “The Keepers have put flowers in his enclosure as a tribute to this little superstar. We’ll miss Djebra so much and will think of him now, bossing all the other monkeys around, in Monkey Heaven.”