A new hybrid is born at the Animal Orphanage
On June 30, in the afternoon, Michael Nganga, senior Lecturer of our Wildlife Education Center lead a group of Kenyan 4th graders through the Orphanage.
While the students were taught the anatomy of an Elephant, Michael noticed that he was losing their attention to the monkey enclosure nearby.
Michael took a moment to glance over at what the interruption might be, and there it was:
A minute wet little monkey, just born cradled safely in the arms of her mother, ‘Tabby’ the Olive Baboon.
The students were fascinated. Michael quickly summoned the Orphanage keepers led by the Wildlife Manager Bunge. All stared in disbelieve… not only was this little ‘gift from God’ unexpected, it was also not presumed possible. You see, “Dad”, in this case would be the only other occupant of the quarters, Gaby, our golden bellied Crested Mangabey, a different species all together.
Gaby came to us via Switzerland where one of our friends acts as a government port veterinary officer. She was forced to confiscate the baby Mangabey being smuggled in from Central Africa. Remembering our Animal Orphanage she sent the little monkey back to be raised and live here.
At the time we had a little female Olive Baboon also orphaned and lonely. The two made good playmates. As they grew up we never expected them to breed. They became inseparable friends. We left them to house together.
There was much excitement that night around the campfire at the Education Center as Michael had out all his books to answer millions of questions from the students. We challenged them to name the little… (what?)… monkey. Where some loyal kids wanted to name the new arrival after their homes areas or loved ones, a name was finally agreed on by all: Mangaboon.
A smaller relative, the Tana Mangabey is found in Kenya in the riverine forests of the Tana River, but sightings are rare.
We have since realized that hybridization between the two species is possible but does not occur in the wild, probably due to social preference.
Mangaboon is growing rapidly but as yet we cannot tell if she takes more after “Mom” or “Dad”. She’s Dad’s favorite little girl however, so much so that we have to sometimes separate him from his family to give mother and young some “quiet time”.
As for my intrusion with the camera, “Dad” preferred to show me his “opinion” of being locked out.
An update on our little baby Gnu
“Bahati” is indeed lucky. She has grown enormously since she came to us, a tiny starved orphaned Wildebeest in June.
Bahati soon made friends with all the other animals here at the orphanage. Good behavior earned her the privilege to run around and mingle all day.
At first she was shy but curious and ventured to meet all the creatures new to her. During July we had a baby Llama born to one of our trained Llama moms. Immediately Bahati took a strange interest. The mother, protective as she was soon realized that this strange looking grey animal could be used as a “Nanny” for her vulnerable young.
She let her come close for minutes only at first. Bahati saw her chance at once. She proved herself so much that now the Llama mother will leave her young in the protection of her “big sister” for much of the day.
Bahati takes her duty so seriously that we are not allowed too close to “her” baby. Even the Ostrich is seen off despite much protest and wing flapping to impress.
It is unusual and heartwarming to watch these two young animals and proves that every body needs a friend, strange as it may seem.
Our Very Special Thank You Goes To:
Diane Hudobenko, our long time friend and supporter.
Brian Jackman, for sharing your work so generously with our supporters/
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